Anyone who has had their teeth cleaned in the years gone by likely remembers having their teeth scaled. This is the technical term for having that metal scraping tool (a dental scaler) used on your teeth and gums. While it's an effective method of breaking off tartar and plaque and cleaning teeth, it isn't always the most pleasant thing to undergo. Thankfully, it's becoming a thing of the past as technology improves. If you haven't been to the dentist in much longer than you should've, this is what you can expect from your next cleaning.
Dentists now primarily use something called an ultrasonic scaler. As the name implies, the device uses ultrasonic waves to accomplish the same feat as a traditional dental scaler. But how exactly does it work, and will it really make an impact on your discomfort?
How It Works
Ultrasonic scalers utilize two things to get the job done: ultrasonic waves and water.
The first, the ultrasonic waves, target your teeth and gums. These are produced by the scaler rapidly vibrating at ultrasonic wavelengths. This vibration is like a million tiny shakes being delivered to the plaque and tartar surrounding your teeth. Though you won't even be able to feel the ultrasonic waves, they'll go to work breaking up plaque and tartar. Best of all, they can easily target plaque and tartar that are hidden under your gums, too, so they're very effective in the fight against gum disease.
The second element, the water, is what you're likely going to notice the most. Unless your dentist tells you what they're doing as they do it, you may just think that your teeth are being rinsed with this device. However, the ultrasonic scaler goes hand-in-hand with a high-powered stream of water that blasts away any of the plaque and tartar that's been loosened. This, combined with dental suction, gets the dangerous substances off your teeth and gums and suctioned away from your mouth, where it can no longer cause any harm.
Ultrasonic scalers make having your teeth cleaned significantly easier, especially if you're overdue for a dental visit. Instead of feeling the traditional dental scaler pull and get stuck on tough tartar, the vast majority — if not all — of your tartar will break up and wash away without you even knowing it. This will greatly reduce any discomfort you used to experience at the dentist's office, and makes it a lot easier for everyone involved when you have significant tartar build-up.
For more information, reach out to a local clinic to address your general dentistry needs.