If you've had gum disease in the past, chances are you look on dental scrapers or scaling tools with a sense of dread, since these tools can induce pain in those who had gum disease. The good news is, this pain often isn't a necessary part of seeing a dental professional for gum disease anymore. Here's why.
Why It Was
Dental scaling tools were utilized to help break apart and remove stuck-on tartar to your teeth. You might wonder, then, why a dentist or periodontist would use it to scrape under the gumline.
The reason for this is that your tooth doesn't stop when it hits the gumline. It continues to extend further into the mouth. When the gums pull away from the teeth ever so slightly, bacteria and plaque can get in there and start to form tartar on the deeper part of the tooth. While sometimes uncomfortable, using a scaling tool allows dentists to break off that tartar and to help the healing process start for your gums.
What's Replaced It
The reason why it's no longer necessary to use these scaling tools in many cases is because a better scaling tool has replaced it. It's called an ultrasonic scaler. This tool uses ultrasonic waves to break up tartar without ever physically touching it. It's utilized by many dentists and periodontists these days, as it provides a pain-free way of removing tartar from a patient's mouth. In most cases, traditional scaling tools are now only used for severe tartar problems or to simply pull off the pieces that have already been loosened by an ultrasonic scaler. In any case, this means you won't need to worry about a scaling tool having to go under the gumline anymore.
What to Expect
If you didn't know about this tool, chances are that your dentist or periodontist would use it for your next visit without your even realizing it. The scaler is integrated into a water spray that your dentist will use while they're performing your teeth cleaning. The water is only there to blast away the plaque and tartar that's loosened by the ultrasonic scaler. Ultrasonic scalers don't make noise and don't induce any pain, so you won't feel anything except the water hitting your teeth and gums. All in all, you likely won't notice the scaling going on in the slightest.
Dental tools continue to advance and improve. If the only thing keeping you from the dentist's office has been concerns of discomfort, rest assured that the old fashioned scraping scaler days are mostly in the past now.
Contact a company that offers dental or periodontist services near you to learn more.