A scale and polish cleans your teeth very thoroughly.
Scaling removes the hard tartar which forms on your teeth. You can’t remove it just by brushing your teeth. Scaling also removes trapped food and plaque containing millions of germs, which can cause tooth decay and gum disease. Stains from coffee, tea, cigarettes or red wine are also cleaned away when I polish your teeth. For the painless treatment I use numbing gel, anaesthetic spray or if necessary local injection.
There are two ways to scale teeth.
Hand scalers – These come in different sizes and shapes, to reach different parts of your teeth. This is why you will see the 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, I will use a rotating brush or rubber polisher with toothpaste.
Scaling cleans above and below the gums. If you have gum disease, scaling needs to be deeper, around the roots of the teeth.
This is called ‘root planing’. I may give you a local anaesthetic to make it more comfortable.
- Regular scaling and polishing by a 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.* It causes no damage and will not scratch the tooth surface.
- If your gums bleed when you brush, you may have early gum disease. Regular scaling helps to stop the disease getting worse.
- Gum disease can cause bad breath, which you can prevent by regular scaling and cleaning your teeth thoroughly at home.
What is tartar?
Plaque is a sticky, colourless deposit of bacteria that is constantly forming on the tooth surface. Saliva, food, and fluids combine to produce these deposits that collect on teeth and where teeth and gums meet.
The build-up of plaque can trap stains on the teeth, and it is also the primary factor in gum problems. Fighting plaque is a life-long part of good dental hygiene. Plaque can also lead to the development of cavities, which further weaken your teeth.
Plaque can begin forming on teeth four to 12 hours after brushing, which is why it is so important to brush at least twice a day and floss daily. Brushing teeth, although necessary, is not enough. Make sure to floss every day in order to get those hard-to-reach places between teeth to help prevent the build-up of plaque.
Tartar, also called calculus, is a crusty deposit that can trap stains on the teeth and cause discolouration. Calcium and phosphate bind to form crystals on the teeth.
These calcium phosphate crystals eventually harden within plaque, forming calculus. Certain types of chemicals called pyrophosphates help to decrease calculus build-up by stopping the growth of crystals on the tooth surface and preventing new crystals from forming. Tartar creates a strong bond that can only be removed by a dental professional.
Its formation may also make it more difficult to remove new plaque bacteria, thus potentially creating problems further down the road.