A Celeb Dentist Explains Why Everyone's 'Teeth Scaling' On TikTok


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Upon first impression, hearing the term ‘teeth scaling‘ – TikTok’s latest obsession may flood the mind with visions of mountain climbing and, well, teeth. Or perhaps an image of a fish. Scales? Scraping? It tracks. But WTF is this so-called dental hygiene trend that has ‘Tokers abuzz, we wondered. And obviously: should we be trying it?

We went straight to Hailey Bieber and Madison Beer’s cosmetic dentist, Dr. Victoria Veytsman, for the answers on this seemingly satisfying (and beneficial?) treatment to see what all the hype is about.

What is Teeth Scaling Exactly?

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Teeth scaling is a treatment that’s usually done at a patient’s 6month cleaning,” explains Veytsman. It’s the process of removing calculus and plaque buildup from the teeth. Your dentist will use a metal tool called a scalerto remove any deposits that have built up on the sides and the backs of the teeth, which helps to improve your overall oral hygiene and prevent things like gingivitis and bad breath.

Okay, that sounds pretty normal. Every time we leave the dentist’s office armed with a fresh new brush (and breath), we solemnly promise to do better in the dental department at home, so why not give this a whirl in between visits? Apparently, because it’s literally the worst DIY treatment you could do for your teeth, that’s why.

What are the Dangers of Teeth Scaling at Home?

Please, and I mean please, do not believe, or try, everything you see on TikTok,” warns Veytsman. There are many dangers of doing teeth scaling at home, but the worst TikTok I saw was of someone using a sharp scaler with no mirror to the point of bleeding!

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Here’s why scaling at home is a no-no: First, the scaler is super sharp, so if done incorrectly, you can hurt yourself, cause bleeding, etc. Second, you definitely take the chance of causing a bit of damage to your teeth, such as chipping a tooth. Third, you can cause damage to your gums or any bonding you have, which will most likely need to be fixed by a dentist. The takeaway here: To avoid any extra (read: costly) trips to the dentist, leave the teeth scaling to the pros. 

Can Hard Tartar Be Dissolved without a Trip to the Dentist?

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Unfortunately, no. Nothing dissolves tartar or what we call calculus, which is hardened calculus,” shares Veytsman. This is why scaling with your dentist is so important,” she adds.

Is Teeth Scaling Painful?

If done by a professional and done on healthy teeth, the process of teeth scaling should not be painful,” says Veytsman. That said, if you have extremely sensitive teeth, issues with your gums or gum disease, or recently had work done to your teeth, your dentist can always numb you to make the process more comfortable.”

How Long Does Teeth Scaling last?

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According to Veytsman, teeth scaling done by a professional should last about six months, or at least until your next routine checkup. For patients who are more prone to plaque buildup, she usually recommends deep scaling every three-four months. 

What is the Cost of Teeth Scaling?

Usually, teeth scaling is included in a routine dental cleaning, but if you visit the dentist specifically for a teeth scaling treatment, the price could vary depending on the type of scaling and what’s involved. So, it’s always best to speak with your dentist’s office to find out the exact pricing in your area.

What are Safer, Better Ways to Remove Plaque at Home?

Veytsman recommends holding off until your sixmonth cleaning to have teeth scaling done by the professionals, but in the meantime, you can:

1. Invest in a better brush: Use a sonic toothbrush like Philips Sonicare 9900 Prestige Power Toothbrush with SenseIQ, $380 (a splurge but probably the most advanced toothbrush on the market that removes 20x more plaque and gets every little nook and cranny clean) or the Philips 4100 Series Sonic Electric Toothbrush, $50, that gently removes plaque better than a manual toothbrush ever could.
2. Get back to basics: Floss, use an anti-tartar toothpaste and rinse regularly with mouthwash.
3. Pop a pill: If you feel your mouth needs a little extra care, try oral probiotics like Burst Oral Probiotics, $35.
4. Increase your H2O: Drinking lots of water also helps keep your salivary pH in check, which helps keep your oral biome healthy. 
5. Satisfy the munchies: Crunchy fruits and vegetables are not only good for overall health but also can help remove plaque and tartar.

And there you have it! If the question is to scale or not to scale, teeth-wise, the answer is: do it, just not at home. 

FYI, here are some oral hygiene mistakes that could be ruining your teeth.

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