Friday, 15 November 2013

Does scaling damage teeth?

Dental health and hygiene is an ignored subject in India which leads to numerous dental problems and expensive treatments. As children we were told to brush our teeth in the morning and before going to bed. That’s about all the education we had about dental health. Most people don’t even know what flossing is, let alone how to floss.

By the time we’re adults, our careless eating habits and various indulgences such as alcohol and smoking takes a toll on our teeth. And that’s when we go see a dentist for the first time in our lives, a tooth ache. The doctor informs you that your teeth are covered with tartar and calculus and you require a scaling procedure.

Now scaling is a very testy subject in India and is surrounded by various myths that scaling causes damage to the teeth and makes them loose at the root. However, let’s understand the cause and effect of this entire process.

Improper care and dental hygiene leads to build up of bacterial plaque on the teeth which hardens with time if not removed and forms calculus and tartar. This cement like calculus hardens between your teeth and gums resulting in the receding of gums, thus loosening the teeth from the roots. Thereafter, the teeth are held in place only due to the calculus deposit around them, waiting to drop out the minute you exert enough force such as chewing something hard.

Another result of this process is that the teeth root and nerves now become exposed to the extreme temperatures and properties of whatever you consume. Eating something too hot or too cold will induce sensitivity in the teeth nerves resulting in tooth ache and discomfort.

The key point here is the deposition of bacterial plaque which hardens to form calculus which eats away the gums, loosens the teeth and exposes the tooth nerves. Thus, the most effective manner to avoid the excruciating pain is to remove the plaque or calculus at the very onset. This is brought about by the process of scaling, which removes the plaque and calculus this preventing further damage to the teeth and gums. If left unattended, calculus can lead to bleeding gums or gingivitis and tooth loss.

Depending upon the current state of your dental health, your eating habits and daily dental hygiene, you dentist can recommend whether you require scaling or not and how often should you get it done to prevent the calculus formation.

The myth that scaling can damage the enamel and loosen teeth is based on the fact that in some cases when the calculus is removed, the damage to the teeth is beyond repair and the teeth promptly fall out without the support of the hardened calculus. Scaling in a timely manner can in fact prevent this condition.

So for optimal dental care, it’s advisable that you pay attention to what your dentist says rather than gobbling up half baked stories about teeth damage from scaling. Stay informed and stay healthy.

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