What is dental curettage? – 2022


What is dental curettage?

Curettage is a professional treatment performed by a dental hygienist to remove tartar buildup and is very noticeable when inflamed gums are present.

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Subgingival Curettage


What is dental curettage?

Curettage is a professional treatment performed by a dental hygienist to remove tartar buildup and is very noticeable when inflamed gums are present. It should not be confused with traditional dental cleaning which is carried out on the teeth without touching the gum area. Curettage is a more intensive treatment that corrects periodontal problems and is performed below the gumline. Curettage is a process used to remove tartar, in which the gum is scraped, polished and smoothed down to the root of the teeth.

When is this treatment recommended?

Gum disease is caused by the buildup of bacterial plaque and this can be avoided by brushing your teeth three times a day. However, brushing is not enough to kill bacteria, as it is very difficult to reach certain areas of the tooth which are not cleaned as a result. Specifically, the edges of the gums are areas that are difficult to reach with a toothbrush.

To determine if curettage is necessary, you should go to the dentist regularly who will identify the problem. Periodontal diseases are asymptomatic, so only a specialist can determine if curettage treatment is needed. However, when diseases such as gingivitis are very advanced, symptoms such as swollen and red gums are visible.

Why is it recommended?

Curettage is not a simple treatment like cleaning the teeth, it is a more complex treatment that must be performed by a dental hygienist or periodontist. Curettage is a treatment that not only benefits oral health but also health in general. Curettage improves the aesthetics of teeth and gums, acts specifically by eliminating bacterial plaque, reduces the risk of tooth loss, prevents bad breath and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Is dental scaling painful?

Dental curettage is a dental treatment that is performed to eliminate bacterial plaque and the accumulation of tartar. This treatment is more invasive than a traditional dental cleaning because it tries to eliminate the bacteria accumulated inside the gums until the tooth is polished at the root. It is generally not a painful process because before starting the specialist applies local anesthesia, however, once the effects of the anesthesia pass, patients usually feel slight discomfort, especially sensitivity in the gum area.

How the treatment works: step by step

Curettage is a treatment that consists in cleaning the root of the teeth hidden by the gums. Due to its complexity, the treatment is performed following certain steps under local anesthesia and only by a dental hygienist.

Phase 1: Ablation

The first stage begins with scaling the roots with ultrasound along with other special tools to remove plaque and tartar. This stage is composed of other steps, such as the microbiological analysis which allows the specialist to know which bacteria to fight after treatment, in order to use the appropriate antibiotic. Another step that is performed in the first phase is the analysis of the level of tartar on the teeth, checked both at the beginning and at the end of the treatment.

Step 2: Polishing of the teeth

The second phase of the curettage treatment consists in performing the dental curettage specifically with the special instrument, smoothing the dental prosthesis making it completely smooth and shiny. This procedure helps to eliminate the stains that arise due to necrotic cement, so the purpose of sanding is to obtain a smooth and hard surface. And for the treatment to be effective it is necessary to re-evaluate the state of the patient’s mouth and perform periodic maintenance in order to avoid complications or a rapid accumulation of bacteria.

How long does the procedure take?

Dental curettage is a procedure whose duration is determined based on the damage to the teeth and the amount of bacterial plaque or tartar present in the gums. When cases are very complex, specialists usually divide the treatment into several parts, but it is generally divided into two sessions, offering the patient a more comfortable treatment without complications.

The first session of the procedure with the specialist lasts about two hours, as during the first appointment it is necessary to perform various analyzes and studies to determine the amount and complexity of bacterial plaque.

In the second session, the time required is shorter: it takes about an hour and a half for the treatment of the two remaining quadrants. At the end of the treatment, the specialist must prescribe the patient, based on the results of the analyzes, the antibiotics necessary to fight the bacteria present.

How often are dental curettages performed?

Once the diagnosis has been made by the specialist and the dental hygienist has participated in the curettage procedure, the latter specialist schedules periodontal maintenance appointments every four or six months depending on the complexity of each case. Also, if necessary care is not taken, periodontitis is likely to return.

The following scheduled appointments allow the specialist to perform maintenance treatment on selective teeth that require more attention due to plaque build-up, so that the patient can avoid a more invasive curettage treatment, so it is important to have regular visits from the dentist.


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