Can I Scrape Plaque off My Teeth?


Plaque which is not properly removed with regular brushing and flossing eventually hardens into a hard substance called tartar. Another name for tartar is dental calculus. In order to remove plaque and tartar, a dental professional must scrape off the substances with specialized tools during a cleaning. In some cases, patients are tempted to attempt removing plaque or tartar on their own at home. The below article will discuss why patients are discouraged from attempting to scrape off plaque and tartar from their own teeth.


Plaque Scraping

During routine visits to the dentist, patients will receive a professional cleaning along with a thorough examination. The dentist often takes x-rays to determine if there are any issues which may not be apparent from the surface. During the cleaning, a dental hygienist will use specially designed tools to clean the teeth and remove plaque and tartar. One of the tools which is used is called a dental scaler or plaque scraper. The hygienist will use the sharp cutting edges of the plaque scraper to clean the area below the gumline. The dental scaler is also used to clean the tooth’s surface. Root planing is a procedure which can be used to scale the surfaces of the roots.


While plaque scrapers can be purchased over-the-counter or online, dental professionals strongly advise against the use of these devices at home. Plaque scrapers are extremely sharp and improper use can cause serious damage to the teeth and gums. While this trauma may cause some pain, other negative consequences include receding gums, sensitivity, and exposing the tooth’s roots. Sharp plaque scrapers can also damage or injure the cheeks, tongue, and other soft tissues in the mouth. In some cases, incorrect use of the tool can even result in infection. It is possible for patients to accidentally push tartar below the gumline, causing other problems and complications.


Safely Removing Dental Plaque

A plaque scraper is specialized medical tools which requires training and education to properly use. Dental hygienists must attend at least two years of college in order to treat patients and to learn how to safely use these types of tools.


Patients with concerns over the accumulation of plaque or tartar should follow up with their dentist. The dentist can complete an examination to determine what substances has collected on the teeth and determine if there are any other issues which require attention. The dental professionals can also educate the patient on good oral hygiene techniques. Plaque and tartar should only be removed by a trained dental professional.


In order to maintain good oral health between dental visits, patients should practice good oral hygiene. This includes brushing the teeth at least twice each day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and daily flossing. While it is important to remove plaque in order to maintain good oral health, this should not be done at home. Schedule an appointment with your dentist in order to address any oral health concerns. The dentist can address the issue and help ensure patients are able to maintain their beautiful smile.

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