In the age of TikTok and social media, at-home substitutes for in-office procedures seem to becoming more and more popular. With viral videos constantly circulating and posing DIY solutions for some of our most common insecurities, specifically our smile, it can become hard to navigate what is safe to try at home and what should be left to the professionals. One such trend—teeth scaling—has become quite popular amongst social media users in terms of perfecting their smile on their own. However, we asked some of our most trusted cosmetic dentists their thoughts on the trend. And though they do praise the health benefits of having scaling done, they also urge an abundance of caution when it comes to smile adjustments at home.
“A treatment that’s usually done at a patient’s six-month cleaning, teeth scaling is the process of removing calculus and plaque buildup from the teeth,” says New York cosmetic dentist Victoria Veytsman, DDS. “During the appointment, a metal tool called a ‘scaler’ is used to remove any deposits that have built up on the sides and the backs of the teeth,” she continues. “This treatment helps to prevent gingivitis, gum inflammation, bad breath and improves your overall oral hygiene.”
Atlanta, GA cosmetic dentist, Ronald Goldstein, DDS adds that “both hygienists and dentists perform scaling to remove plaque and hardened calculus deposits usually around the gum line” and that in-office teeth scaling is particularly beneficial because it can help with ridding the mouth of build up that “may not be visible to your eyes unless you use a mirror showing the inside views of your teeth.”
Both Dr. Veytsman and Dr. Goldstein agree that patients should not only make appointments for regular check-ups and regular teeth-scaling procedures if they are struggling with build-up, but they also both urge patients not to try this technique at home. “I advise patients to not attempt scaling their own teeth because I have seen a number of cuts and painful lesions as a result,” says Dr. Goldstein. “Please, and I mean please, do not believe, or try, everything you see on TiKTok,” adds Dr. Veytsman. “Trying to do teeth scaling at home on your own is an absolute no no. The scaler is super sharp, so if done incorrectly, you can seriously hurt yourself and damage your gums, enamel or any bonding you have.”
So, what is the best course of action if you’re struggling with build-up and need teeth-scaling treatments to keep up? Consult your dentist regularly and leave the scaling to the pros. “The process of teeth scaling does not tend to cause any pain until it is in its very late stages, so it is crucial to get regular dental checkups to catch it early,” begins New York, NY cosmetic dentist Timothy Chase, DMD. “It is important to schedule appointments with your hygienist for removal of these deposits two to four times yearly depending on how fast the deposits reoccur in your mouth,” Dr. Goldstein confirms. “I have seen a number of patients who need to have their appointments every 4 to 6 weeks because they cannot control the deposits just with normal home care of flossing and brushing.”
In between treatments, Dr. Veytsman recommends regular brushing, flossing and mouthwash to keep your oral hygiene at its best, and if you need a little extra support, she recommends trying oral probiotics and, of course, staying hydrated: “Drinking lots of H20 also helps keep your salivary pH in check, which helps keep your oral biome healthy.”