Dental scalers are an important tool used above the gum line to maintaining oral health. Equipped with a scraping edge along both sides of the blade, this tool removes calculus, bacteria, and stains from the teeth. Calculus is a term applied to plaque and tartar after they become a hardened buildup. Although brushing and flossing are capable of removing tartar from the teeth, once it has becomes calculus, which is no longer an option. Periodontitis is the loss of the connective tissue that attaches the teeth to the gums and the bone surrounding the teeth. The sole cause of this is the buildup of plaque to levels where it irritates the gums, and that plaque, if left intact, can harden to the point of being unable to be cleaned off by regular brushing and flossing. In a span as short as twenty-four hours, plaque and tartar can harden on teeth and be unable to be removed by anything else. Tartar is nothing more than the accumulation of minerals in saliva on the teeth. The proper use of dental scalers is to slide them from the gum line to the biting edge of the tooth. This careful scraping will remove the rough edges that encourage the growth of more calculus.
These tools are available for purchase and in home use, but attention must be paid to instructions. Careful adherence to the proper application of the tool is important, since the sharp tip can irritate or wound the gums if wielded improperly, too roughly, or by careless hands. Using the tool to damage the gums can easily be avoided, however. A safe alternative to in-home use is simply allowing a professional to handle the scraping of teeth. When used in addition to a periodontal curette, both above and below the gum line can be tended to in a thorough, deep cleaning.
Dental scalers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but always have the characteristic of a sharply pointed end to enable access to the narrow regions between teeth. The sharp tip does more than clean between teeth, as it is useful for cleaning the mesial as well as the distal areas of teeth. Some have only one tip, while others are double-ended. There are two main types which are used, separately or in addition to each other. Hand held instruments are used to manually clean the surface of teeth. Although some buildup is obvious to the eye, occasionally the dental hygienist must rely on the feel of rough patches to remove plaque. There are also electronic dental scalers that vibrate in a way that destroys bacteria cells and chips off calculus. The electronic scalers come equipped with the ability to spray liquid, which provides the dual purpose of keeping the tool from overheating and rinsing away the debris that is removed from on and between teeth. The lavage (the liquid output) can also be used to spray antimicrobial agents into the mouth. Dental scalers are instruments used as a nonsurgical method of treating gum disease, and are very useful to dentists and the everyday person.