T Nation

Scraping Plaque With Tweezers?

Hey there. Anyone have a good reason not to scrape your own plaque with a random metal object?

I had a lot built up behind the bottom of my lower, front teeth, and it always bothers me.

Flossing only cuts it in the middle of the teeth, and even when I wrap the floss around the teeth, it doesn’t get much more.

Admittedly, I haven’t gone to a dentist in years. My last experience was a little humiliating. It was in the Navy, and the person doing the cleaning got all huffy, and stopped halfway into it. She said it was bleeding too much, and to make another appointment.

It didn’t seem to be bleeding any more than any other time, and no other Dentist said anything like that.

Anyway, anyone ever tried doing it yourself?

I even thought about buying the actual scraping tools that Dentists use, but I would probably ignorantly abuse it somehow.

[quote]SWR-1240 wrote:
Hey there. Anyone have a good reason not to scrape your own plaque with a random metal object?

I had a lot built up behind the bottom of my lower, front teeth, and it always bothers me.

Flossing only cuts it in the middle of the teeth, and even when I wrap the floss around the teeth, it doesn’t get much more.

Admittedly, I haven’t gone to a dentist in years. My last experience was a little humiliating. It was in the Navy, and the person doing the cleaning got all huffy, and stopped halfway into it. She said it was bleeding too much, and to make another appointment.

It didn’t seem to be bleeding any more than any other time, and no other Dentist said anything like that.

Anyway, anyone ever tried doing it yourself?

I even thought about buying the actual scraping tools that Dentists use, but I would probably ignorantly abuse it somehow.[/quote]

Get an electric Braun toothbrush with the smaller round head. They get back there and clean those puppies really well. No issues with plaque here.

Of course you’re probably going to have to brush more than once a month now.

[quote]PGA wrote:

Get an electric Braun toothbrush with the smaller round head. They get back there and clean those puppies really well. No issues with plaque here.

Of course you’re probably going to have to brush more than once a month now.[/quote]

You mean one of these?

It even has a built in timer than notifies you every 30 seconds so you know you’re spending at least 2 minutes brushing your teeth, hitting each quadrant for 30 seconds.

I keep the circular part on the bottom, back of my teeth longer every time I’m done brushing too. I’m starting to think it’s just polishing the plaque.

I usually brush twice a day, sometimes once, and every so-often I’ll go a day without brushing, but my wife would kill me if I did that a lot.

I only floss when I get annoyed with the plaque though, which is about once ever 2 months or so probably.

You can buy dentist scrapping tools on the toothpaste isle. They work a helluvalot better than random metal objects.

[quote]texass wrote:
You can buy dentist scrapping tools on the toothpaste isle. They work a helluvalot better than random metal objects.[/quote]

Oh, cool. I’ll have to check them out. I never think to look for anything but toothpaste and floss around there.

I also need something more constructive to do with my time on my ‘off’ days.

Yeah, I think the proper tools are like $5 - I think it’ll be worth it to keep your enamel!

[quote]SWR-1240 wrote:
You mean one of these?
[/quote]

Like that but without the extra brush. All you need is the end brush. You can get really detailed brushing wise with it.

Oh, screw the tooth scraper. If they don’t like bleeding gums they should have picked another profession.

If you want to cut back on the bleeding, do a lot of flossing for a couple weeks before you go. It will get the gums used to more of a physical assault and they’ll be less prone to bleed.

Anyway, I guess I’m saying, do your three or four visits to the dentist to get your teeth all caught up, then maybe work on scratching up your teeth on your own afterwards?

[quote]vroom wrote:
Oh, screw the tooth scraper. If they don’t like bleeding gums they should have picked another profession.

If you want to cut back on the bleeding, do a lot of flossing for a couple weeks before you go. It will get the gums used to more of a physical assault and they’ll be less prone to bleed.

Anyway, I guess I’m saying, do your three or four visits to the dentist to get your teeth all caught up, then maybe work on scratching up your teeth on your own afterwards?[/quote]

Yea, I guess.

Horatio was probably right too. I guess that enamel stuff is probably important.

The weird thing is that all of the plaque (at least that’s what I think it is) is white and smooth.

I joked with my wife that I should let it grow over my teeth and I’ll have nice pearly-whites!

There is a mouthwash called “Plax” or the walmart brand that we use “Anti-Plaque Dental Rinse”. Use it before you brush. It helps to loosen up the plaque. Don’t think it works magic on try number one though, but with continued use you’ll find that it really does help.
Look into different toothpaste too. I find that Mentadent Whitening helps. But then again, my evening brushing ritual consists of making my own paste with baking soda and peroxide. So I’m not sure what it is, but something is working on my teeth…no plaque to be found!

PS…I don’t floss either (unless there is something stuck in my teeth).

[quote]vroom wrote:
Oh, screw the tooth scraper. If they don’t like bleeding gums they should have picked another profession.
[/quote]

Especially in the Navy. You’d think they’d have seen their fair share of scurvy dogs.

Seriously, though, Mighty Mouse, if bleeding gums are a problem you might try upping your consumption of citrus fruit.

[quote]halfpintdd wrote:
There is a mouthwash called “Plax” or the walmart brand that we use “Anti-Plaque Dental Rinse”. Use it before you brush. It helps to loosen up the plaque. Don’t think it works magic on try number one though, but with continued use you’ll find that it really does help.
[/quote]

Yea, we used to get that, but stopped for some unknown reason. I didn’t notice it like I do now, so maybe that means it was working. :slight_smile:

[quote]
Look into different toothpaste too. I find that Mentadent Whitening helps. But then again, my evening brushing ritual consists of making my own paste with baking soda and peroxide. So I’m not sure what it is, but something is working on my teeth…no plaque to be found! [/quote]
I’ve been brainwashed with Colgate Complete. They hooked me when they said it could last 12 hours.

[quote]
PS…I don’t floss either (unless there is something stuck in my teeth).[/quote]

Thank God somebody said it! I never knew if most people actually floss everyday or not. My wife does; even when she’s late and in a hurry to get to bed. I tell her to just skip it, but it’s like she’s obsessed.

I don’t have the patience to do it even a few times a week.

dude you’ve got a $100 toothbrush but you can’t be bothered to floss ??? flossing is where it’s at.

[quote]Varqanir wrote:
vroom wrote:
Oh, screw the tooth scraper. If they don’t like bleeding gums they should have picked another profession.

Especially in the Navy. You’d think they’d have seen their fair share of scrurvy dogs.

Seriously, though, Mighty Mouse, if bleeding gums are a problem you might try upping your consumption of citrus fruit.[/quote]

Never would have thought of that. I don’t really get much of any fruit in regularly.

My gums bleed whenever I floss (the rare times that I do), and used to when I first bought and used that Braun toothbrush. It lasted about 2 weeks.

I couldn’t believe how much of a better/cleaner feeling I got from that brush. My gums don’t bleed from using that anymore though. I guess that’s a good sign.

I’ll suck it up and go to the Dentist eventually. I procrastinate too much.

[quote]swivel wrote:
dude you’ve got a $100 toothbrush but you can’t be bothered to floss ??? flossing is where it’s at. [/quote]

I was hoping the fancy toothbrush could replace the flossing, but sure enough the package says it doesn’t.

I guess flossing has heart benefits too.

Somebody should make an all-in-one flosser that you just push between all your teeth at once, like a wiry mouth piece.

How old are you? Usually when people build plaque down to the gumline their teeth start falling out in their 40’s. Once they fall out it is really convenient because you don’t have to deal with flossing and going to the dentist; just put them in a glass with cleanser.

As far as the gum bleeding goes…do you know why they bleed?
Are you on any certain meds? Sometimes bleeding gums can be a side effect.

Some of my clients who take phenobarbital and other seizure meds have problems with bleeding gums as well. But the weirdest thing is that the docs tell them to make them bleed, and thats how they get better. So purposely brush your gums and floss them to try and get them to bleed…give it a shot. Maybe it’ll quit!

[quote]halfpintdd wrote:
As far as the gum bleeding goes…do you know why they bleed?
Are you on any certain meds? Sometimes bleeding gums can be a side effect.

Some of my clients who take phenobarbital and other seizure meds have problems with bleeding gums as well. But the weirdest thing is that the docs tell them to make them bleed, and thats how they get better. So purposely brush your gums and floss them to try and get them to bleed…give it a shot. Maybe it’ll quit![/quote]

I think it’s mostly due to neglect. I didn’t brush as often as I’ve been a long time ago. I also heard that I should make them bleed if I can, to make them stop.

Like Vroom was saying; it toughens them up. Like I said though, it’s only an issue when I floss, so I guess the best answer is to floss more, and actuall make regular dentist appointments.

Please go see a dentist. Remember: you have one set of teeth. Implants, bridges, dentures, etc. will never be as good as your original teeth.

Start flossing everyday now. Make an appointment tomorrow. I would guess that a civilian hygienist will be much more forgiving than your old navy person. Hopefully your next experience will be more pleasant.

My contribution (other than sounding like your mom) is to buy an Oral-b hummmingbird flosser. If it weren’t for this little miracle, I would floss much less often. It makes is really easy, you can do it one handed, and it is quick!

(Sorry to lecture. My fiancee is in Dental school and her parents are dentists, so I hear them talking about patients that neglect their teeth for so long that they are in dentures in their 40’s. I am guessing you would like to avoid that;)

Some of the advice in this thread is scary. If you had so much plaque that another appt needed to be made, it means…YOU HAD A HELL OF A LOT OF PLAQUE. Most prophy techs are given a strict amount of time to get their job done and they have other patients waiting, especially in the military.

Also, prophy techs didn’t go to any type of formal training outside of the military, so to blame your entire experience on one person who was only trained to do that ONE job is a little ridiculous.

  1. Most plaque is also BELOW THE GUMLINE. You could scrape all day but chances are, without anesthetic and the knowledge of physiology in that area, you are missing some places.

  2. Based on the other info given, if your gums are continuing to bleed in spite of all of this, you NEED TO SEE A DENTIST. It probably means (just like mentioned in #1) that you have subgingival plaque and that takes specifically shaped instruments to get to.

  3. If you don’t take care of it, your body will do it for you…by losing bone around those teeth until they become loose and eventually fall out.

  4. Everyone on this site should be seeing a dentist once a year. I don’t care how great your brushing habits are, most people develop some form of decay eventually and pretending it isn’t there doesn’t make it go away.

  5. It is CHEAPER to get a small simple filling…than it is to wait until you allow the decay to grow to the point that a root canal and crown are needed. You are looking at a base difference of around 100 bucks compared to $1,500.

In spite of that, people still tend to wait until a problem gets out of hand and then want to blame the professional for why it takes so much time to fix or why it costs so much.