The ‘Scale and Polish’ Procedure
|Scale and polish|
Scale and polish is a very common dental treatment which is carried out as a form of oral preventive medicine. This procedure is also known as ‘dental cleaning’ and along with tooth brushing, flossing, mouthwashes and healthy eating it can help to reduce the risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
Your teeth come under constant attack from the starches and sugars present in our food which are released as we eat. When this combines with plaque – the sticky bacterial film that forms on the teeth over time, it produces an acid which is harmful to the teeth.
Plaque can corrode the teeth over time which causes cavities and tooth decay as well as bad breath. If it leads to tartar formation, especially around the gums then gingivitis can occur. It can even lead to more serious periodontal gum diseases.
Scaling and polishing can remove plaque and leave your teeth feeling nice and smooth. And it will help to prevent gum disease.
The ‘scale’ part of the procedure involves the dentist using an ultrasound device which emits vibrations to loosen large areas of tartar. It will sprinkle a cooling spray at the same time which washes away the debris.
If your teeth are heavily stained then ‘air abrasion’ may be required. This relatively new approach involves a machine which emits a fine stream of salt particles that will remove plaque and tartar from the teeth. It is often referred to as ‘sandblasting’ as it ‘strips’ these deposits away from the teeth.
Following this the dentist will use a series of hand tools called scalers and curettes to remove smaller deposits as well as smoothing the surface of the teeth. Your dentist will use these to scrape away these deposits.
Once your teeth are beautifully smooth the dentist will give them a polish. This means using a handpiece with a soft, spinning rubber cup which is applied to your teeth.
Flossing is a dental hygiene practice during which a length of fine thread or ribbon is used to remove food deposits from between the teeth.
This should be done after using a toothbrush as brushing the teeth can remove most but not all of the plaque which forms as a sticky coating on the teeth. Plaques can also form between the teeth and this is why flossing is very important as it will remove this along with any remaining food particles.
Antiseptic mouthwashes are good for rinsing out any lingering food deposits as well as killing plaque forming bacteria. They can also make your breath smell fresh. To be used after brushing your teeth.