Mouth Health

Scaling : Should You Get it Done?

Dr. Vibha Jain

For many of us, the first dental visit can range from our late teens to early twenties, sometimes later than that. Tooth care rituals generally involve brushing once (or twice on special days), and looking for that precious bottle of laung ka tel (clove oil) in the event of a toothache. Unbearable pain is the only symptom that drives us to a dental chair.

The avoidance of dental care and dentists in India is not new. I remember that during my growing up years, yearly visits to a dentist were unheard of. Home remedies were the only tools at disposal and professional help was sought only when those remedies failed and toothache got unbearable. Teeth were meant to fall with age and replaced with dentures.

With time, dental care and dental manpower have grown in India, but that hasn’t led to better awareness about oral health among people. As a dentist, I get questions about oral hygiene that surprise me even from people with high levels of education. Myths surrounding dentistry are many and must be wiped. So, I will deal with them one by one. At the top of my list is scaling.

Why Get Scaling Done When I Brush?

We brush our teeth daily and what is not achieved during routine brushing is made up by scaling. Scaling is basically removing deposits around the teeth and from areas that can’t be reached with a toothbrush.


(Image Credit : Clínica Médico Dental Pardiñas)

Will It make my teeth loose?

Contrary to popular concerns, scaling doesn’t loosen or grind our teeth. It is safe and painless, and should be done twice a year (in most cases). Gums and underlying bone are the support system of the overlying teeth. If this foundation is cleaned and maintained (through both proper brushing and scaling), teeth can be kept healthy for a long time.

Other Benefits of Scaling

It is well known these days that health of the mouth reflects on the entire body.  Poor health of the structures supporting  teeth (or periodontal health) has been shown to be associated with heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and harmful effects on pregnancy by research .

Regular scaling gives your dentist a chance to examine the mouth in detail and spot any abnormalities or signs of disease. Early and prompt diagnosis of health problems can save discomfort and money. A clean mouth also means no bad smells and more self-confidence. This helps your personal and professional lives.

Bad breath, bleeding gums, tooth sensitivity, food getting stuck all point towards a problem and need immediate attention. The later we seek help, solutions get complicated and expensive – which is why it becomes very important to talk about your periodontal health when you visit a dentist.

For a  visual explanation of the scaling and root planing procedure, watch this (very well done) video.

– Vibha Jain is a general dentist and practiced in Jamshedpur for many years after her graduation. She believes that talking about myths surrounding oral health and dental treatments is important for improving India’s health.

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