The dental section of your local drugstore or favorite online site offers more dental tools for home care than ever before. Little angled mirrors. Tongue scrapers. Gum stimulators. Interproximal brushes. Why, there are even curettes and scalers to help you remove tartar at home.
But should you try do-it-yourself scaling (the technical term for scraping tartar off enamel) at home? Let’s weigh the facts.
Plaque, a sticky biofilm composed of bacteria, food particles, saliva, and fluids, starts forming within hours after you brush. And within days, if it’s not brushed and flossed away, plaque starts to mineralize, becoming tartar, a hard, rough, yellow or brown deposit that you can’t simply brush away.
Tartar often develops in the places we where we don’t brush or floss effectively. If you run your tongue across the back of your front teeth and feel a rough surface, that might be tartar. If you check out the back of your mouth and discover yellow discoloration on your molars, that might be tartar. If you see brown staining between your teeth or at the gumline, that might be tartar.
Why worry about tartar, especially if it’s not visible? Several good reasons.
For all these reasons, cleaning tartar from your teeth is an essential part of every professional dental cleaning at our Barrington, Illinois office.
Your dental team has extensive academic and clinical training which enable them to discover and remove any plaque or tartar thoroughly and effectively. They are also experts in using specialized tools to remove plaque and tartar gently and safely, including:
The scalers available at your drugstore certainly look a lot like these professional tools. But,
There are many DIY home projects which are satisfying and well worth your time—but DIY dental scaling isn’t one of them. Let’s take a look at some of the dangers of home scaling.
So, on balance, should you do your own scaling? We think the answer is clear. Keep your teeth healthy and plaque-free at home with regular brushing and flossing, and see the doctor when it’s time for a cleaning. When you need tartar removal that’s safe, precise, and thorough, the experience and skill of your dental team outweigh any potential DIY satisfaction!