Dental Check-up & Cleaning
Even if you practice good oral habits such as brushing regularly and flossing after every meal, plaque and tartar will still build up on your teeth, causing gum diseases and tooth decay in the long run.
For most, we recommend coming in every 6 months to get a check-up and cleaning done. This usually includes scaling and polishing, as well as fluoride treatment if needed.
Scaling and polishing is one of the most essential dental treatment at any dentist as it is a fundamental procedure to prevent the onset of gum disease or tooth decay in the long run.
We often hear the terms scaling and polishing paired together for every routine cleaning. Scaling is a common dental procedure that removes hardened plaque, also known as tartar or calculus. Polishing on the other hand, helps to remove stains and minute particles of tartar. It also ensures that your tooth enamel is smooth and glossy.
In most cases, and if done regularly, scaling and polishing is a procedure that leaves minimum discomfort — most people find it painless. That said, if you have sensitive teeth, inflamed gums or stubborn tartar that is hard to remove, it might cause slight discomfort or pain during the cleaning process.
If you have extremely sensitive teeth or are worried about potential pain, it will be good to let your dentist know prior to the clean so that they will take extra care during the clean. If the sensitivity or discomfort is unbearable, you can request for numbing cream or local anaesthesia for a painless scaling and polishing experience.
So you might be wondering, are plaque and tartar the same? What is the difference between the two?
Plaque is a soft, sticky, colourless or pale-yellow film of bacteria that forms on your teeth, which can be removed by brushing and flossing your teeth regularly. If you fail to brush your teeth often and the plaque sits on your teeth for too long, it will harden to form tartar, which is usually darker in colour and can only be removed with the help of professional tools at the dentist.
With the removal of stains caused by smoking or regular consumption of beverages such as coffee, tea and wine, scaling and polishing can help to enhance the shine of your teeth, allowing them to look cleaner and brighter.
That said, if you are looking to whiten or lighten your current shade of teeth, it will be more effective to opt for cosmetic teeth whitening instead.
The answer is no, if done on a recommended schedule by your dentist. Going to the dentist for routine cleaning twice a year is considered healthy and strongly recommended by dentists in order to maintain optimal oral health.
The procedure only aims to remove the accumulated plaque and tartar without affecting the surface of your tooth. That said, you should not seek scaling more than the recommended frequency by the dentist as over cleaning your teeth may lead to your enamel wearing down.
Scaling and polishing is a highly recommended dental procedure for individuals of all age groups as part and parcel of your routine check-up. This is to prevent and reduce the risk of gum disease (periodontitis) and tooth decay, which is caused by harmful bacteria in your mouth.
Despite regular tooth brushing, flossing or even using mouthwash in between meals, our teeth are still subject to constant attack from the sugar and starch that is present in the food we consume. When the sugar and starch released combines with plaque, it will produce an acid that is harmful to our mouth.
Over time, plaque can corrode your teeth, causing cavities, tooth decay and even bad breath. If hardened to form tartar at the base of your teeth, where your gums are, it can also lead to gum disease.
Hence, it is very important to visit your dentist to get your teeth checked and cleaned at least once every 6 months to a year as prevention and early detection will help to protect your oral health in the long run. It will also help to freshen your breath if you are conscious about having bad breath.
Fluoride is an important mineral that helps prevent tooth decay by making the tooth more resistant to acid attacks by bacteria and sugars in the mouth.
Fluoride treatments done in our dental clinics help strengthen the tooth enamel, and restores lost minerals that make our teeth hard. As we age, our teeth weaken and are more susceptible to decay.
Our dentists will apply either a fluoride gel, cream, or varnish to your teeth and leave it there for a while for the fluoride to be absorbed.
We recommend this to be done together with your regular scaling and polishing process.