Tartar, also known as calculus, is a hard deposit of plaque that forms on teeth. Plaque is a film of saliva, bacteria, and food debris. If plaque is not removed with regular brushing, it transforms into tartar and can only be removed by a professional at your hygiene cleaning.

If not removed, tartar buildup can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. Gum disease is an infection of the gums that can destroy the tissue that supports your teeth. Tooth decay is damage to a tooth that can occur when plaque turns into acids that eat away at the tooth enamel. You cannot remove tartar at home with brushing alone.

Your dentist may prescribe a deep cleaning procedure if you have signs of early gum disease, such as bad breath, bleeding gums, and inflamed gum tissue.

The Scaling Procedure

A deep clean generally starts with scaling. The scaling procedure is a common and effective way to remove plaque and tartar from teeth. The two most common scaling methods are manual scaling and ultrasonic scaling.

Manual Scaling

A numbing gel is applied to the gums, which helps to reduce discomfort during the procedure. A hand-held scaling tool is used to remove any visible plaque and tartar.

Once the visible buildup has been removed, a high-powered water jet is used for flushing away any remaining debris—your dentist polishes your teeth, which helps to restore their natural shine.

The entire procedure typically takes less than an hour, and most patients report feeling a little discomfort afterward.

Ultrasonic Scraper

An ultrasonic scraper is often used for thick plaque deposits and those below the gum line. An ultrasonic scaler is a handheld dental instrument that uses high-frequency sound waves to remove tartar, plaque, and other deposits from teeth.

Your dentist selects the appropriate tip for the scraper based on the type of deposit being removed. The scraper is then placed against the tooth surface and activated. The deposits are broken up and removed as the scraper moves across the tooth surface.

The Root Planing Procedure

The root planing procedure is a standard dental treatment designed to remove debris and tartar from the tooth root below the gum line. This helps to smooth the root surface and prevent further buildup of plaque and tartar.

Your dentist may recommend root planing if you have early signs of periodontal disease, such as gingivitis.

Root planing involves a small, curved curette used to scrape along the roots to remove any buildup. Your dentist then uses a reciprocating handpiece to smooth the tooth’s root, allowing the gum tissue to attach more effectively.

The entire procedure usually takes around 1-2 hours. Root planing can be done in one or multiple visits, depending on the severity of the buildup.

What to Expect After Deep Teeth Cleaning?

After deep teeth cleaning, it is normal to experience tooth sensitivity and gum tenderness when the local anesthetic wears off. These symptoms typically resolve within a few days.

To help relieve discomfort, patients should avoid hot, cold, or acidic drinks, brush their teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and nano-hydroxyapatite (nHa) toothpaste, and use over-the-counter pain medication as needed.

Support Your Gum Health with A Dental Place

The health of your gums is essential to your overall oral health. At A Dental Place, we offer various services to help support your gum health. From professional cleanings to periodontal therapy, we can tailor a treatment plan that meets your individual needs.

We also offer various cosmetic options to help improve the appearance of your smile. If you’re looking for a dentist to help you achieve and maintain healthy gums, visit A Dental Place. Contact us to schedule an appointment.