Figure 3-22.Exploratory stroke.
Figure 3-23.Scaling strokes.
safest scaling stroke because the cutting edge of the
instrument does not come in contact with the epithelial
The horizontal stroke will parallel the gingival
margin. Use this stroke cautiously to remove
supragingival deposits from the facial and lingual
surfaces of the teeth.
The oblique or slanted stroke is made at a 45° angle
to the long axis of the tooth. Use this stroke to scale the
majority of the tooth's surfaces. However, the
direction of the stroke that you select will depend on
the type of instrument, the area of the mouth, and the
tooth surface involved.
Activating the Stroke
Before starting the working phase of the stroke,
tighten your grip on the instrument. Use your hand,
wrist, and arm to activate the instrument (fig. 3-24).
Avoid scaling with independent finger movements as
this technique is extremely fatiguing. Your working
stroke should be short, controlled, decisive, and
directed in a manner to protect the tissues from trauma.
With a short stroke, you can maintain control of the
instrument and adapt the cutting edge to variations in
the tooth surface. Always keep as much of the working
blade (not just the point) on the tooth as possible. The
exact length of the stroke depends on the height of the
deposits. During the working stroke, you should
slightly increase the pressure on the fulcrum to balance
the pressure of the instrument on the tooth.
Never remove calculus by shaving it in layers.
Shaving often leaves a thin layer of calculus, which is
difficult to distinguish from the tooth surface. This
thin layer can serve as a nucleus for new plaque and
calculus formation. After you have completed the
scaling procedure, you are ready to polish the teeth.
The current treatment plan in the patient dental
record will indicate whether or not a tooth polishing
should be done. However, if the gingiva has been
irritated during scaling, you may have to schedule the
Polishing Procedure for a later date. Have a dental
Figure 3-24.Instrument activation.