If you have ever been to the dentist, you have probably had your teeth cleaned, which means you have experienced several of the tools that dentists use. Water, suction, electric brushes, and more are all part of the cleaning routine, but you may have found yourself wondering why dentists will use a small sharp tool to scrape across your teeth.
Dentists call the tool in question a scaler or a scraper. It will remove plaque and tartar build-up on your teeth and in your gum line. After a physical exam of your mouth, a dental hygienist will use a scaler on each of your teeth.
The more plaque or tartar build-up you have, the longer this process will take. Generally, you shouldn’t feel any pain during the portion unless you have a significant amount of tartar on your teeth and in your gum line. Most patients only report sensations of discomfort, pressure, or scraping rather than pain.
Is Scraping Necessary?
Yes, scraping your teeth is a necessary part of the cleaning process. Even if you have an excellent oral health routine, you still may miss some mild plaque build-up.
Plaque naturally builds on your teeth throughout the day and night, which is why it is important to brush and floss daily. Plaque can coat every surface of your mouth because it is sticky and, in that plaque, lives bacteria.
There is always a healthy number of bacteria that lives anywhere in your body. But if it is too much, it can cause problems for your health. These bacteria create an acid that will then eat away at the protective layer of enamel on your teeth, which can leave you vulnerable to cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease.
If you have a lot of plaque or tartar on your teeth, your dentist may even use the scraper to slightly reshape your teeth. When plaque isn’t removed from your teeth, it can harden into tartar, which is impossible to remove at home.
Tartar is one of the substances that is scraped off during your dental cleaning. If tartar remains on the teeth, it can inflame the gums and cause them to recede. Small pockets form around the teeth as the tartar builds, increasing the risk of infections.
Have an Efficient Daily Routine
If you are not a big fan of your dentist and dental hygienist scraping around your teeth and gums, devote more time to your daily dental hygiene routine. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day and after meals is just one part of a good routine.
You should consider flossing to be just as important as brushing. It gets in between your teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach, and it cleans below your gum line.
Since plaque can stick to any surface in your mouth, think of adding mouthwash to your routine. If you missed any plaque or bacteria, mouthwash could reach any surface. The more steps you take in your daily routine, the better off you will be.