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Does Tooth Scaling Hurt?

Simply put, no, it should not hurt.

First off, understand why you need to go for a scaling and what is the difference between a professional dental cleaning and brushing at home. Our normal gums or gingiva are attached to the tooth at a normal “gum margin”. As we consume our regular meals, a super thin layer of food called ‘the debris’ stays back on this margin. Mainly at the junction of the gum and tooth. This can usually be cleaned by proper brushing techniques. But, once this debris hardens, it turns into something we call ‘plaque’ which cannot be removed by your regular brushing. No matter how many times you brush, how long you brush, or what toothbrush you use. As the plaque gets worse, it converts into calculus and will further move the gum away from the tooth; resulting in various periodontal issues like receding gums, bleeding gums, mobile tooth and more. You have to book a dental appointment and as you might require a professional deep cleaning and root planning.

Teeth Scaling or cleaning is a type of preventional or initial periodontal therapy which helps the dental professional to perform a full mouth dental checkup. So if you have booked a dentist appointment for tooth scaling, you will also get to know of any other issues in your mouth, ranging from a basic cavity to a serious bite irregularity. This helps fish out any and every dental issue in the starting stages itself, which would be otherwise overlooked.

The actual procedure of the plaque removal is somewhat like this. Once the dentist completes the checkup, they will start the scaling. A thin ultrasonic blade tip will be used to break away all the hard plaque, tartar and calculus. The tip will be passed on all four corners of the teeth on all four sides of your mouth covering each and every tooth and its angle. There will also be water ejecting from this machine as to protect the tooth and the gums from any irritation. The excess water will simultaneously be suctioned off by the dental assistant. You might feel a tiny vibration but nothing further. There will be minimal to no pain since we are not disturbing the gum or the tooth by itself. We are working away at the hard tartar which is a foreign body and has no connection to your pain pathways in any sense.

The whole procedure might take up to 15 or 20 minutes based on the severity. The dentist might advice a follow-up session or a second session if your plaque level is severe. Do not worry if you see a tiny bit of blood during the scaling as this is a gum disease treatment and we are scraping away the old blood and gums to give way to healthy healing and newer, proper attachment of the gums to the tooth. You might feel that there are gaps between your teeth but these are the healthy spaces which were occupied by unhealthy plaque till now. New gums will grow stronger and better in these spaces.

Following the dental scaling, the dentist might proceed to perform a teeth polishing to give your teeth that shiny after glow. And that’s it! You are good to go. With a new, bright and healthy smile.