Ethos Dental Centre, Shop 5 Ringwood Square Shopping Centre, Ringwood 3134 | (03) 9870 9297

Scale & Clean

What is a scale & clean?

At the dentist, the most routinely performed procedure is a scale and clean, which is done by professionals. The tool that is used is called a scaler. This uses ultrasonic waves to create vibration to loosen and break down tartar on and around the teeth and gums. During the procedure, the professional will remove any plaque, calculus and tooth staining.

What we remove:

  • Plaque is a sticky mass of bacteria that grows on the surface of the tooth, if not cleaned regularly the plaque can harden into tartar, which is one of the main causes of cavities and gum disease. This can cause brushing and flossing to become more difficult due to the build-up of tartar along the gum line causing the gum to become inflamed, swollen, red. You may also start to notice more consistent bleeding when you brush.
  • Calculus is often also known as tartar. It is a mineral build-up that is attached to the teeth and will spread below the gum line. This is what causes negative effects on your oral health. Calculus can cause bad breath and gum disease, which is inflammation of the gums. When left untreated this can lead to severe damage of the soft tissue and the bone. This is clinically proven to impact on your all over health negatively, even causing cardiovascular issues.
  • Staining can be caused by our dietary lifestyle habits. Common causes are drinking red wine, coffee, dark teas and smoking. Most patients have the habit of using teeth whitening toothpastes to remove staining, however, the “whitening” toothpastes usually has very fine grains that can remove the staining, but it causes damages to the outer layer of the tooth known as enamel.


What we do during scale and clean?

At Ethos, our check-up and cleans are very through and detailed. Before the dentist begins with the scale and clean, we will go through a full mouth examination. A full mouth examination includes:

  • checking for the health of your gums
  • any previous dental history that can be seen
  • checking for any grinding
  • any tension in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) that can cause lock jaws or clicking
  • checking for any unusual features or abrasions on the soft and hard tissue
  • checking for oral cancer
  • assessing the lymph nodes

After the exam, we will take a few bitewing x-rays, which gives the dentist a view of any issues that may be occurring within the tooth or the root that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Bitewings not only help diagnose any underlying calculus under the gums, but it can also show any decay occurring under and between the teeth. Once there is a record of bitewings, you should not be needing them until the next 2-3 years.

Fluoride Treatment

After the clean of removing calculus, plaque and staining, your gums can be a bit sensitive. We use a fluoride paste known as GC Tooth Mousse. It contains a concentrated fluoride that can help relieve and reduce tooth sensitivity and provides an extra protection for your teeth.

What are the benefits of a clean?

At Ethos, unless it is urgent, we will always want to begin with a check-up and clean for all new patients. The reason is because the first initial check-up appointment can give us a chance to provide you with a detailed plan that you will need to achieve optimal oral health. We will list out a plan that is best suited for you as we understand that everyone is different. Dr Patil often says: “It’s better to do little things more often rather than big things less often. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that every time I go to the dentist, I have to get a big lot of work done and therefore I’m just not going to go to the dentist, or I hate going to the dentist because it’s always painful. It doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, keeping things maintained is the easiest way to ensure long term dental health”. Dental check-up and clean is as important as a routine check-up at the GP. It is a way to prevent something from occurring that may affect you financially, physically and when it is too late, there will be less options you are able to choose from.

Is it painful?

Scale and cleans are usually not meant to be painful, with any work on the gums and teeth sensitivity afterwards is common and that should wear off within a few days. Greater plaque or calculus on the tooth can result in some discomfort for the patient. It is important to maintain good oral hygiene by brushing twice a day, floss at least once a day and see your dentist regularly for cleans. By doing these preventative steps, scale and cleans are less likely to be painful for the patient. 

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