Of all the treatments that are available for a dental patient today, cleaning of teeth is simultaneously the most innocuous and infamous - at least for the first timers. This simple procedure, called scaling, where tartar or calculus deposits are removed from the gums and teeth, gives your teeth a life and your smile a shine. Many patients however express their concern that this procedure will weaken their teeth.
Over the years, I have tried to dwell deeper into the roots of this notion and have found there are indeed reasons for it. Reasons that I cannot refuse, but reasons that I can refute.
- Teeth start to shake after cleaning. So you never went to a dentist before for cleaning of teeth. Or your dentist told you to get it done before but you could never gather the courage for it. This sitting your dentist said its now or never. So you get it done, and your lower front teeth start shaking. Undeniably scaling weakened your teeth, right? In actuality, years of tartar deposition have pushed your gums away from your teeth. The tartar at this point, was what was holding your teeth firmly in place. And your dentist removed it so that your gums may once again embrace what was always theirs - the tooth roots. While it will take a couple of days for your gums to hug those roots after years of separation, you should celebrate the reunion with the beautiful smile that scaling gave you!
- Gums bleed more after cleaning. This is the gums baring their blush for all the missed hugs and kisses. Let the blood flow! If you have learnt to brush and floss properly now, the bleeding will stop in a couple of days. The bleeding should not be a reason for you to be softer on your brushing and flossing.
- Teeth become sensitive after cleaning. And the gums, now overwhelmed with emotions, ask the tooth, "What makes you so sensitive now?". The tooth readily admits, "When you used to hold me once, I never realized the depths of my own sensitivity. It is only when calculus had pushed you away from me and my roots are now exposed to the fury and coldness that lies in this world, that I need you to protect me once again." And the gums promise, "We will, we always will......as long as you take care of us!"
- Spaces between teeth that were not there before. Because tartar or calculus forms very slowly, taking months to years, we do not realize when it has pushed the gums away and taken its place. We realize it only when it is removed as a chunk during scaling.
- Scaling weakens enamel. Scaling, being the innocuous procedure it is, cannot damage the hardest substance in the body. It will, however, expose roughness in enamel which is removed by polishing after scaling.
The right hug can give life to your teeth. What do you want it to be - tartar or healthy gums?