Scaling, also referred to as deep cleaning, is a procedure used to remove hardened plaque and tartar from the teeth. Tartar cannot be removed by regular cleaning and flossing, and requires special dental tools to be completely eliminated from the teeth. If tartar is not removed regularly, it is likely to cause gum diseases and cavities.
What can you expect during scaling?
Scaling differs from your regular dental cleaning in several ways. First, regular dental cleanings involve the removal of tartar above the gum line. Scaling, however, involves removal of tartar below the gum line. Gum disease causes gaps between the teeth and gums where there is a buildup of tartar. This procedure removes the tartar buildup so that gums can re-adhere to the teeth.
It may take more than one visit to a dental office for gum scaling, with each visit lasting for up to two hours. Typically, one quadrant of the mouth is treated at a time. You will be given a local anesthetic to numb the gums and prevent any pain.
Following a scaling treatment, your gums may swell or bleed. This should resolve after a couple of days. In addition, you may feel some sensitivity for several days. It is recommended that you eat only soft foods and avoid extremely hot and cold foods for a few days after the procedure. You may take over-the-counter pain medications to help reduce inflammation. Rinsing your mouth with saltwater may also help.