Health and Fitness

The Pain of Scaling and Root Planing

You know that feeling when your heart just sinks, and you feel physically ill? If you’re anything like me, that sinking feeling and nausea is a regular occurrence whenever you scale or root plan. Scaling and root planning are two of the most difficult procedures to perform as a dental hygienist. Working as an RDH can be difficult, especially when it comes to scaling and root planning treatments.

Few other treatments will make your stomach turn with such frequency and for good reasons! You see, both scaling and root planing are necessary evils in the practice of dentistry. They’re time-consuming, messy procedures that often result in sore fingers and bleeding gums. However, we still need them badly.

Scaling and root planing are essential for removing plaque biofilm from beneath the gum line where conventional brushing cannot reach it. The presence of plaque biofilm greatly increases one’s risk of developing Scaling and root planing Pain, gum disease, periodontitis (which is essentially oral cancer), tooth decay, cavities,  and other that are harmful bacteria that can wreak havoc on our teeth if left untreated.

Understanding Scaling and Root Planing

Understanding Scaling and root planing are two of the most essential aspects of oral hygiene care. During scaling, your dentist or dental hygienist will remove plaque and calculus (tough, hardened plaque) from the surface of your teeth. Root planing involves scraping the surfaces of the roots of teeth to remove plaque and other substances that have built up beneath the gum line.

To perform proper scaling and root planing, you’ll need a scaler (a small, handheld instrument with protruding rotatable blades that clean dental plaque from the tooth’s surface) and a periodontal scaler (a tool used to remove plaque from beneath the gum line).

Scaling

Scaling is a procedure used to remove dental plaque and other substances from the tooth’s surface. It’s usually done with either a scaler or curette or sometimes a combination of both. Scalers are small hand-held instruments with a protruding rotatable blade used for cleaning dental plaque from the tooth’s surface.

During the treatment, your dental hygienist will insert the dental scaler or curette into the gum line beside your teeth, then move it in a back-and-forth motion while rotating it to gently scrape off plaque, calculus, bacteria, tartar, and other substances that have built up beneath your gum line.

Root Planning

Root planing is a procedure used to remove plaque and other substances from the root surface of teeth. So, Root planning is performed by inserting your dental hygienist’s periodontal scaler into your gum line beside your teeth, then moving it in a back-and-forth motion while rotating it to gently scrape off plaque, calculus, bacteria, tartar, and other substances that have built up around the root surface of teeth.

Root planing helps to prevent or slow down the periodontal disease and tooth decay. It also makes it easier for your dentist to perform certain procedures like dental implants, crowns, and fillings.

Other Duties While Performing Scaling and Root Planing

In addition to scaling and root planning, a dental hygienist is often responsible for performing other procedures that include taking and recording patient dental X-rays, performing oral cancer screenings, educating patients on oral health and proper oral hygiene habits, and performing general dental hygiene procedures.

That includes dental charting, dental instrument sterilization, and oral pathology services. Many dental hygienists also assist with other dental procedures such as fillings, crowns, root canal therapy, oral surgery, and other dental extractions.

Tips for Dealing with the Scaling and Root Planing Pain

The pain you experience while scaling and root planning is a normal response to the pressure, vibrations, and pain of the scaler or periodontal scaler scraping against the gums and tooth surface. However, the pain isn’t necessarily the real problem. The real problem is that you’re most likely not scaling or root planning correctly.

Given that the correct way of performing these procedures often results in pain and discomfort for the patient, and few RDHs actually know how to perform them effectively, it’s understandable why so many dental hygienists suffer from pain and discomfort while performing these procedures. The following tips will help you perform scaling and root planning correctly, which will help to minimize your risk of developing chronic pain and discomfort.

Conclusion

In addition, Scaling and root planning are two of the most essential aspects of oral hygiene care. They’re also two of the most difficult aspects of dental hygiene to perform correctly due to the pressure, vibrations, and pain of the scaler or periodontal scaler scraping against the gums and tooth surface.

The pain isn’t necessarily the real problem. The real problem is that you’re most likely not scaling or root planning correctly. The following tips will help you perform scaling and root planning correctly, which will help to minimize your risk of developing chronic pain and discomfort while performing these essential dental hygiene procedures.

References:

1-Anxiety about dental hygienist treatment

First published: April 1993

https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0528.1993.tb00728.x

2-Tooth Decay Is the Most Prevalent Disease

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6373711/

Scaling and Root Planing:Postingmil.com

Read More: Cosmetic Dental Crowns: What You Need To Know

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