Some of the dental supplies that a dentist uses are for the purpose of performing cleanings. These supplies would include numbing gels for people with sensitive teeth, a dental scaler used to remove plaque and a tooth polisher to clean the teeth. During the cleaning, the dental hygienist would also rinse the patient’s mouth with a jet of water.
Dental scaling is used to eliminate bacteria that stick to plaque and hardened plaque, which is called calculus, or tartar. Scaling is nonsurgical, but it's different from a standard dental cleaner in that it involves cleaning the areas of the tooth below the gum line. Scaling is usually the first treatment for periodontal, or gum, disease. Because removing calculus can be painful, the dentist may give you a local anesthetic to desensitize the nerves before the scaling procedure. Scaling is usually done with a combination of ultrasonic and hand instruments called dental scalers.
The dentist first removes calculus using an ultrasonic scaler. This tool has a blunt tip and operates at a very high frequency, blasting away calculus through its vibrations. It also has a built-in water spray to wash out fragments and keep the tip of the instrument cool.
Maintaining good oral hygiene habits between dental visits is essential to good dental health. Brushing properly and flossing regularly is crucial. Using a dental scaler ensures that your teeth remain stain free and your gums remain healthy. The scaler removes tartar (also called calculus), plaque, stains, bacteria and debris from your teeth. Used once a week or as needed in conjunction with your brushing and flossing, the dental scaler helps keep your teeth and gums in optimal condition.
Do not use home scaling to replace the ultrasonic scaling available at a dental office. Scaling below the gumline requires training, and you can cause damage to your gums and teeth you attempt it at home. Always keep your regular six-month dental appointments to scale below the gumline. For serious tartar buildup, your dentist may recommend a dental scaling and a root planing, which requires anesthesia.