When you visit the dentist for certain treatments, such as general cleaning, they usually take care of your entire mouth at once. For more intense treatments, however, they work in quadrants. This includes scaling your teeth.
Discover why scaling your teeth in quadrants makes sense, including a refresher on scaling.
As the name implies, using quadrants divides your mouth into four sections. One division is between the upper and lower sets of teeth. Then each of those is split at the front incisors.
So, your upper right quadrant goes from the first incisor on the upper right all the way to your wisdom tooth on the upper right. The other quadrants follow the same pattern.
A Refresher on Teeth Scaling
Before getting into why Dr. Dhiraj Sharma typically scales your teeth in quadrants, get a quick refresher on what teeth scaling is and why it is necessary.
A dentist usually completes teeth scaling along with root planing. It is one of the most commonly used treatments for chronic periodontal disease. As a reminder, chronic periodontal disease can cause deep pockets separating the teeth and gums. It can also lead to gums that are bleeding, tender, red, or inflamed, as well as bad breath. It can also cause a change in your bite or your teeth to shift permanently.
You can think of teeth scaling (and root planing) as a deep cleaning for your teeth. They are essentially a way to clean your teeth more thoroughly than is possible during regular dental cleaning.
During teeth scaling, your dentist scrapes the plaque off of your teeth. He also scrapes it out of any large pockets separating your gums and teeth. Then the root planing smooths your roots. The goal with this part of the treatment is to encourage the gums to reattach to your teeth.
With that background information in mind, take a closer look at why dentists usually perform tooth scaling in quadrants.
It Ensures a Higher Level of Attention to Your Mouth
Keep in mind that the process of teeth scaling, with or without root planing, can be very time-consuming. In addition, if Dr. Sharma suggests tooth scaling, there is likely a lot of plaque on your teeth that requires removal.
That means that your dentist has to be extra careful to ensure the removal of all of the plaque from your teeth during the process. Simply put, focusing on a smaller section of the mouth at a time lets your dentist spend more time on each tooth. It ensures a thorough scaling of each tooth. This is essential to get the desired results.
This ability to spend time and pay more attention to detail is the primary benefit of teeth scaling in quadrants. Working on a single quadrant at a time makes it easier to keep track of which teeth have already been scaled, so none are missed.
It Reduces the Appointment Length
As mentioned, working in quadrants gives your dentist the freedom to spend additional time paying attention to each tooth. While that is good for delivering a thorough cleaning, it can also be time-consuming.
By dividing your mouth into quadrants, you don’t have to schedule an appointment longer than you have time for. This makes it easier to fit into your schedule, reducing the risk of having to put off the teeth scaling.
The shorter time of the appointment also means that you should be more comfortable, as you won’t have to sit in the dental chair for hours. Similarly, your jaw likely won’t be as tired after, as you won’t have to hold your mouth open for as long.
If you don’t have dental insurance or the tooth scaling isn’t fully covered, completing one quadrant at a time can also spread out your out-of-pocket costs. This can make it easier to budget.
There’s Always the Option to Work on Multiple Quadrants in an Appointment
Importantly, working in quadrants doesn’t mean that your dentist can only scale the teeth in one quadrant at an appointment. There is always the option to divide your four quadrants into just two appointments or even tackle all four in a single appointment.
This flexibility lets you and your dentist weigh the pros and cons of each option in your specific scenario. Depending on your insurance situation, scaling all quadrants in a single appointment may be cheaper. It may also be easier to fit a single longer appointment into your schedule than several shorter ones. This is especially true for those who need to make childcare arrangements or get time off work.
Nevertheless, whether you choose to have your dentist do all four quadrants in a single appointment or each quadrant in a separate appointment will likely depend on your schedule and the condition of your mouth.
Other Quadrant Dentistry
Tooth scaling isn’t the only dental treatment that is done in quadrants. In fact, the term quadrant dentistry refers to focusing on one quadrant of the mouth at a time. For example, if you have multiple cavities throughout your mouth, your dentist may divide them into several appointments based on which quadrant of the mouth they are in. The same can be true of crowns or other treatments.
This method lets your dentist focus on more than one tooth per visit. That reduces the number of dental appointments you need, making it easier on your schedule. It also reduces your stress and discomfort because of the reduction in appointments.
The Bottom Line
Tooth scaling is a method of deep cleaning your teeth, and it is a common treatment for chronic periodontal disease. Your dentist does teeth scaling in quadrants to be able to pay greater attention to the fine details. This lets the dentist focus on a single tooth at a time without accidentally overlooking any. Working in quadrants also makes it easy to divide the tooth scaling into several appointments, if necessary, while still giving you the option of having it all done at once in a single longer appointment.
For more information on scaling or to make an appointment with our dental office in Evergreen Park, contact us today!