Scaling and Polishing.
What is it?
A 'scale and polish' cleans your teeth very thoroughly.
'Scaling' removes the hard 'tartar' which forms on your teeth like 'scale' inside a kettle and can't be removed by brushing alone. Scaling also removes trapped food and sticky 'plaque', which contains millions of germs, which can cause tooth decay and gum disease. Stains from coffee, tea, cigarettes or red wine are also cleaned away when the teeth are polished.
Your teeth wil be scaled by a dentist or dental hygienist. If your own tooth cleaning is very thorough then your scale and polish will take less time.
There are two ways to scale teeth:
- Hand scalers - These come in different sizes and shapes, to reach different parts of the teeth. This is why you will see the dentist or hygienist changing instruments quite often;
- Electric scalers - These use very fast vibration with water. The water is sucked out of your mouth. A hand scaler is used to check whether the teeth are completely clean.
For polishing, a rotating brush or rubber polisher is used afterwards, with toothpaste.
Scaling cleans above and below the gums. If you have gum disease then scaling needs to be deeper, around the roots of the teeth. Dentists call this 'root planing'. You may be given a local anaesthetic to make it more comfortable.
Your dentist or dental hygienist will tell you about the best way to clean your teeth and gums thoroughly at home.
What are the benefits?
- Regular scaling and polishing by a dentist or hygienist helps keep your teeth and gums healthy by making it easier for you to keep your teeth clean at home. You should see and feel the difference;
- Gums which bleed when you brush are signalling early gum disease. Regular scaling helps to stop the disease progressing;
- Gum disease can cause bad breath; which can be prevented by regular scaling and thorough home care.