The Health Edition


Upon reading the title to this article, many of you tooth-conscious readers out there immediately began reading for advice on how to call of wedding engagements while there’s still time. While this article will neither help you avert marital disaster nor prepare you for the hell to come that is your life, it will prove an invaluable asset to you when it’s time to remove plaque and tartar for the sake of your dental health. Given that this, no doubt, reinvigorates you about life, it behooves you to be further informed about the merits of debridement and the purpose of this part of the usual, oral examination you undergo at the dentist’s office.

Basics of the Procedure

Dental debridement may not be what it phonetically implies to the average person these days, but it does release you from a different ball and chain. That ball is plaque, and its chain is tartar. When these substances accumulate on a person’s teeth, it is far more imperative than many people realize for the dentist to remove it. Tartar in particular is especially difficult to remove, which makes a dentist’s touch that much more important. When you come in for a regular, oral exam, the dentist, of course, engages in an involved process of teeth cleaning. The teeth cleaning is one of the most significant parts of the oral exam in terms of what we remember about these visits after all.

Debridement is not necessarily something that the dentist has to do for you, though. This is something that individuals with no advanced dental, orthodontic, or periodontal knowledge can grasp and utilize for themselves in their own personal hygiene efforts. The professional teeth cleaning does, of course, the most thorough job by comparison because dentists use all manner of ultrasonic equipment to crack the calculus and make it easier to remove. In a professional teeth cleaning, your dentist is likely to employ a host of other devices as well like curettes and scalers. Still, you can use mere saline solution and still get results. Needless to say, caution is advised.

Full Mouth Ultrasonic Debridement

There is a treatment modality known as full mouth ultrasonic debridement, and its purpose is to treat periodontal disease. This end is reached by means of ultrasonic scalers. If you’re wondering about all this talk of scaling and scalers, scalers are the hook fingers, as a child might call them, that the dentist uses on your teeth to scrape away the plaque, and ultrasonic scalers are the devices that buzz in your ear and then, upon contact with a tooth, send the buzz vibrating throughout your skull. Theoretically, it isn’t necessary to plane cementum away as thoroughly as one might be inclined to think in order for the periodontal healing process. The idea is that the reason this is unnecessary is because the bacterial contamination of root surfaces can only reach so deep in the first place; ergo, it is less necessary to be as thorough regarding depth than one would think.

The real objective when it comes to full mouth ultrasonic debridement is to disrupt the settling of bacterial biofilm in the periodontal pocket without detaching cementum, which is a calcified substance that covers teeth roots. It’s the part of the periodontium that actually latches the teeth onto the alveolar bone, so it serves as an anchor of sorts, so to speak. The fact that full mouth ultrasonic debridement doesn’t remove cementum yet does disrupt bacterial biofilm in the periodontal pocket is what differentiates it from root planing or, for that matter, alternative treatment modality scaling. Specialized dental curettes and other such manual tools are requisite for root planing, which marks yet another contrast because full mouth ultrasonic debridement relies more on scaler tips to debride periodontal pockets and root surfaces. This all yields a much more time efficient process than that of scaling or planing, and it also reduces the need for anesthesia.