General Topic : Dental Examination

“Doctor, I brush my teeth twice a day. Why do I still get problem with my teeth?”

Does this sound familiar to you? Is this one of your doubts as well?

Most of us in Malaysia have the habit of brushing twice per day.

However, how effective is your brushing?

Are you brushing using the right tool?

Are you brushing using the right way?

How do you know if you are brushing well?

Chances are you won’t know until a dentist examine you and tell you about it.


Whenever patient come for dental check up, I like to examine the teeth, the gum, the arrangement of their teeth and any other potential problem that is present.

Let’s look at this patient teeth together.


Case Study: a lower tooth that is difficult to clean

This young gentleman came requested for a scaling.

Interestingly, all the teeth in general are very clean; except for one tooth that was totally covered by calculus.

Immediately, I knew that something wasn’t quite right there.

When I looked again, I realised that the teeth next to it are not align with it.

It means that when he place his tooth brush there, the bristle of the tooth brush won’t be touching this tooth. No matter how hard he tried, he won’t be able to clean the tooth.

I discussed with him what is the challenge, and taught him how to angle his tooth brush in brushing this tooth.

Also, I suggested other tools that could help him in cleaning this particular tooth.

He was delighted to learn about the way of cleaning his teeth as he was always troubled by a rough feeling over this tooth.

Before he left, of course I cleaned his teeth so that he could start fresh from there.


In a nutshell, everyone has different teeth.

There is no one size fits all method of cleaning teeth.

If you have trouble cleaning your teeth, or you would like to know how to clean your teeth effectively, feel free to contact me for a personalised plan for you.

Thank you.


Dr Gwen Gan

All About Your Regular Dental Scaling

As a dentist, I am glad that more and more people are now aware of the importance of regular dental scaling.

If you are one of them who goes to check in at the dental clinic regularly, congratulation and well done!

If you are yet to be one of them, I hope this post will remind you that it is time to do so.



Dental scaling is a procedure performed by the dentist to remove calculus that had been built up along the gumline. (In Malaysia, there is no dental hygienist and dentist is the one who performs the procedure).

A polishing will be performed also to help removing stain and smoothen the rough surface following dental scaling.

Hence, you always heard the name Scaling and Polishing.

In short, these two procedures help to keep your mouth clean, prevent gum problem and give you a beautiful and confident smile. =)



Dental Scaling

Ultrasonic scaler is used during the procedure.

The ultrasonic handpiece typically uses either magnetostrictive (elliptical motion)or piezo-electric (back-and-forth motion) technology. Magnetostrictive inserts operate at 25,000 to 30,000 cycles/second and, Piezo-electric inserts operate at 28,000 to 36,000 cycles/second.

The high vibration energy works effectively to knock the calculus and hence detach from the surface of your teeth.

The water comes together with the scaler also serve a few purposes during the procedure. First, of course it helps to flush away the debris. At the same time, it works to cool the tip of the ultrasonic scaler so that the heat created is not transmitted to the teeth. The tiny bubbles that are created also helps to disrupt the and rupture the bacteria, and changed the environment that is not suitable for bacteria to live.


Traditionally, polishing is performed using prophylaxis cup and prophylaxis paste. It works to smoothen the rough surface following dental scaling. It also works to remove stain (not all, but to certain extend). It also contains fluoride that helps strengthening the teeth.

A newer way of doing polishing is through air polishing which use high pressurised water and fine sodium bicarbonate to blast on the plaque and stain to remove them. It is more gentle to the enamel layer yet more effective in removing stain compared to the traditional way of polishing.



Teeth sensitivity

One of the most common side effects that follow after dental scaling is teeth sensitivity.

Avoid taking very sweet and cold food or drink as it can trigger more sensitivity. Once the biofilm is built up again (typically takes a few days) then your teeth will feel normal again.

You can also consider using a sensitive toothpaste to ease the problem

Gum Bleeding

If there is any bleeding from the gum, it will normally stop within a day.

However, if you notice any unusual bleeding please refer back to your dentist to be sure.


Antibiotic mouth wash may or may not be prescribed depending on the condition of the gum.

Discuss with your dentist if you need a mouthwash to further clean up your mouth.

Oral hygiene

Do your best to minimise the deposition of calculus again.

Even though it is inevitable to have calculus, but keeping a good oral hygine helps to minimise it.

Discuss with your dentist if you are not sure if your oral hygine is good.

In a nutshell, flossing daily, brush twice a day with fluoridate toothpaste is necessary.



A general answer is 6 months. However, it depends on the overall condition of your mouth.

Someone that has calculus build up faster will need more regular check up , e.g. 4 months.

Someone that hardly has calculus build up can wait for 6 months or 9 months before seeing a dentist.

On top of how fast calculus built, someone that easily get dental caries will be called back for check up earlier than someone who never has any caries or filling.

The best thing is to work together with you dentist to decide what is the suitable timeline for your regular dental check up.

With Love,

Gwen Gan