How Dental Scalers Work
A buildup of plaque (biofilm) can harden into dental tartar. If left untreated, it can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. Here is how:
- Bacteria in plaque release acids as they feed upon sugars. These acids break down the tooth enamel, causing tooth decay.
- The bacteria also cause enzymes to damage connective gum tissue and bone, causing periodontal disease.
Knowing the harmful effects of plaque buildup and why it's important to remove plaque is a key to optimal oral health!
The tools used to remove the buildup are metal and ultrasonic instruments that have dangerously sharp points—allowing dental hygienists to remove every bit of plaque and tartar from your tooth surface and underneath your gumline.
Having been extensively trained in dental scaling and periodontal debridement, your dental hygienist knows precisely what to look for and how to remove plaque and tartar safely. While you might think this is a simple task and easily accomplished at home, misuse is common and harmful.
What Are The Dangers of DIY Plaque Scraping?
Because plaque scrapers/dental scalers are specialized medical tools requiring training to learn how to use them safely, DIYing might lead to misuse and:
- Damage your delicate gum tissue. Gum tissue trauma isn't just painful; it can also cause gum recession, exposing your teeth sensitive roots.
- Scratch your teeth enamel. This can cause tooth sensitivity.
- Injure your cheeks, tongue, or other soft tissues.
- Cause infections. One way is that you might accidentally push tartar under the gumline, leading to gum abscesses or other problems.