Scaling &
Polishing

What are the procedures which are involved in scaling & polishing?

Scaling

Specialized instruments are used to gently remove plaque and calculus deposits without harming your teeth. The ultrasonic scaler uses vibrations to loosen hardened tartar that sticks to the teeth/in between teeth. Water spray is also used to wash away the debris. There may be a high pitch buzzing sound heard from the scaler during the scaling process.

Polishing

Polishing is usually carried out after scaling to remove stains and make your teeth feel smooth and shiny. Polishing is done with a soft rubber cup that spins. Prophylaxis paste – a special toothpaste-like material is scooped up into the cup and spun around on the teeth.

Prophyjet polishing uses a pressurized spray of air and water with sodium hydrogen carbonate powder to remove stains, plaque and soft debris from your teeth. It may taste slightly salty.

What are the benefits of tooth polishing?

The benefits of tooth polishing are somewhat debated within dentistry, that some review did note that those who had their teeth polished and scaled had significantly less plaque buildup on their teeth.

Having less plaque may preserve your tooth enamel, which is impossible to completely restore once it’s eroded or decayed. Tooth polishing also removes bacteria from the surface of your teeth.

What to expect at Scale & Polish?

A scale and polish can be done by your dentist or hygienist.

The first ‘scrape’ stage removes the deposits of plaque and tartar. Often an ultrasound scraper is used first to get rid of the bulk of the tartar, followed by specialised hand held instruments to scrape away any stubborn remains.

The next step is to ‘polish’ the teeth to make the surface really smooth. While polishing removes stains leaving teeth bright and shiny, it is not just a cosmetic procedure. It also smoothes away minor imperfections and patches of rough texture on the teeth to protect against further plaque build up.

ABOUT SCALING & POLISHING

Dental cleanings involve removing plaque (a soft, sticky layer of bacteria, food & saliva) and hard tartar (calculus) deposits that have built up on the teeth over time. Your teeth are continually bathed in saliva which contains calcium and other substances which help strengthen and protect your teeth. While this is definitely beneficial, it, unfortunately, means that we tend to get a build-up of calcium deposits on the teeth. This chalky substance will build up over time, almost like the limescale deposits at the base of your kettle. Usually, it is tooth coloured and can easily be mistaken as part of the teeth, but it can also vary from brown to black in colour.

If this tartar is allowed to build up on the teeth, it will, unfortunately, provide the right conditions for bacteria to thrive beside the gums. The purpose of cleaning and polishing is basically to leave the surfaces of the teeth beautifully clean and smooth so that bacteria are unable to stick to them and so provide you a better chance of keeping the teeth clean during your regular daily hygiene regime.

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