Last updated date: 03-Mar-2023

    Originally Written in English




    Scaling is a popular dental operation used to remove calculus, which causes tooth damage and gum disease. Because this technique may leave the teeth harsh, they are polished to smooth them out.


    What are scaling and polishing?

    Gum disease

    Gum disease is frequently caused by a buildup of plaque bacteria; the easiest approach to eliminate this is to wash your teeth twice daily. However, no matter how carefully you clean your teeth, there will always be difficult-to-clean spots. Plaque bacteria can collect in these places and eventually mineralize to create a harsh, crusty deposit known as calculus or tartar, which is hard to remove with brushing alone. If plaque is not eliminated, it can accumulate around the tooth and even under the gum line, leading to the evolution of gum disease. To lessen the risk of gum disease or to prevent it from worsening, to get your teeth thoroughly cleaned, your dentist may prescribe a professional cleaning called a scale and polish.

    A person who has healthy teeth and gums feels more confident and fit. The tooth enamel yellows or becomes discolored as people go about their daily routines and have diverse eating and drinking habits. Polishing has typically been connected with the prophylaxis treatment in most dental clinics, which patients are familiar with and anticipate. However, overuse of the polishing method causes wear of the surface tooth structure. This would result in an increase in the buildup of local deposits. Furthermore, the creation of the fluoride-rich layer of the tooth takes a long period. As a result, polishing is no longer recommended as part of a standard oral prophylaxis practice but is done on an as-needed basis.

    Your dentist or hygienist can do a scale and polish. The first 'scrape' step eliminates plaque and tartar deposits. An ultrasonic scraper is frequently used initially to remove the bulk of the tartar, followed by specialized hand-held devices to scrape away any resistant residues. The teeth are then 'polished' to make the surface very smooth. While polishing eliminates stains and makes teeth shine, it is more than simply a cosmetic technique. It also removes tiny defects and areas of rough texture from the teeth, preventing future plaque buildup. Your dentist will recommend how frequently you should undergo scaling and polishing. Professional cleaning should never be used in place of twice-daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste.


    Why should the patient get his teeth scaled and polished?

    Dental plaque and calculus, which build around teeth and under the gums, contain harmful germs that can cause tooth decay and gum irritation. While thorough brushing and flossing can eliminate plaque, some plaque is unavoidably left behind and hardens to become calculus, which can only be removed by a professional dental cleaning. Plaque, calculus, and stains will be removed with a simple scaling and polishing to restore your bright and fresh smile. This procedure also allows us to more thoroughly check your teeth for any more subtle issues, like leaking fillings or cracks, that may require our attention. If performed on a regular basis, this is a pleasant and simple operation that will only take a few minutes but will go a long way toward keeping your oral health on track. A dentist's examination and cleaning of your teeth is an important aspect of your oral care regimen. In addition to keeping your gums and teeth healthy, your dentist can diagnose and treat issues such as gum disease and cavities before they progress.


    What is tooth scaling?

    Dental plaque and calculus

    Your dentist may advise you to get your teeth scaled. This technique is usually performed in conjunction with root planning. These methods are sometimes referred to as "deep cleaning." Chronic periodontal disease can be treated with teeth scaling and root planing (otherwise known as gum disease). They are more thorough than a standard tooth cleaning. Teeth scaling and root planing may need more than one dental appointment and may necessitate the use of local anesthesia depending on the severity of your chronic periodontal disease and the presence of receding gums.

    Food and bacteria may collect in our teeth as we eat and drink, eventually forming dental plaque. Dental plaque can calcify and harden into tartar over time. While brushing and flossing can help eliminate plaque, they cannot remove tartar. A dentist will have to remove it using a technique known as scaling. Scaling is the process of loosening and removing plaque and tartar from your teeth and gums without harming your gums or teeth.

    Handheld or ultrasonic tools can be used for dental scaling.

    • Dental scaling with hand-held instruments: The dentist removes plaque and tartar from the tooth with a dental scaler and curette.
    • Ultrasonic dental scaling: A vibrating metal tip chips off tartar as a water spray washes the tartar away and keeps the tip cool.


    When does the patient need tooth scaling?

    Persistent periodontal disease

    If your mouth shows evidence of persistent periodontal disease, your dentist will prescribe teeth scaling and root planing. These procedures can help to alleviate the symptoms of this disorder and keep your mouth healthy. When bacteria in plaque cause your gums to move away from your teeth, you have chronic periodontal disease. This causes big pockets to form between your teeth and gums, where additional germs can develop that you cannot reach with at-home tooth brushing. That is why it is critical to floss on a regular basis in order to reach areas that toothbrushes cannot.

    Chronic periodontal disease, if left untreated, can lead to:

    • Bone and tissue deterioration
    • Tooth decay
    • Teeth that are loose 
    • Moving teeth

    Chronic periodontal disease affects over half of the adult population in the United States over the age of 30. Some of the causes of this condition are as follows:

    • Inadequate oral hygiene
    • Hormone alterations caused by smoking
    • A family history of malnutrition
    • Various medical issues

    Chronic periodontal disease can cause deep pockets between your gums and teeth, but it also causes additional symptoms such as:

    • Gums that leak
    • Gums that are inflamed, red, or sensitive
    • Terrible breath 
    • Permanent teeth moving 
    • A change in bite


    What happens during teeth scaling?

    teeth scaling

    Outpatient teeth scaling and root planning can be performed at your dentist's office. Depending on the severity of your problem, you may need to arrange one or more appointments for the operation. Your dentist may or may not need to use a local anesthetic to make the operation less painful. If you are concerned about pain, talk to your dentist. Your dentist will begin by scaling your teeth. This entails removing plaque from your teeth as well as any big pockets that have formed between your teeth and gums. Your dentist will then do root planing. A scale tool will be used by your dentist to smooth the tooth roots. This smoothing aids in the reattachment of your gums to your teeth. Depending on the state of your teeth and gums, your dentist may potentially prescribe further therapy. To help you heal faster, your dentist may employ antimicrobial agents in your mouth or prescribe oral antibiotics for you to take for several days.

    Your dentist may also use a technique known as host modulation Trusted Source, in which extra medicine is injected directly into your gums to help repair the detrimental effects of long-term periodontitis or to lessen the risk of infection following your surgery. Traditional instruments, such as a scaler and a curette, are often utilized to execute the technique. However, various equipment for tooth scaling is available, such as lasers and ultrasonic devices. A thorough mouth disinfection may also be recommended by your dentist. According to a 2012 study, modern instruments and procedures for tooth scaling and root planing are no more successful than older approaches.


    What are the benefits of scaling the teeth?

    Gold standard therapy

    Teeth scaling and root planing are regarded as the "gold standard" therapy for persistent periodontal disease. According to a 2015 assessment of 72 journal publications on these treatments, they reduced the pocket gap between teeth and gums by.5 millimeters on average.

    Reduce your risk of tooth, bone, and tissue loss linked with chronic periodontal disease by minimizing the pockets that form between your teeth and gums with teeth scaling and root planing.

    What are the risks of tooth scaling?

    Risks of tooth scaling

    The hazards of scaling your teeth are negligible. Following the treatment, you may be at risk of infection, therefore your dentist may prescribe an antibiotic or a special mouthwash to use for a few days or weeks.

    Contact your dentist right away if you have any of the following symptoms after dental scaling and root planing:

    • pain intensification
    • The wound does not heal as planned.
    • You've got a fever.
    • You may also suffer discomfort and sensitivity for a few days after the operation, as well as gum soreness.

    Any procedure-related adverse effects should subside within a few weeks. If they do not, please contact your dentist.


    What to Expect Following a Teeth Scaling?

    Root planing

    Teeth scaling and root planing may need more than one visit to your dentist. Your dentist will most likely recommend that you return for a follow-up consultation to ensure that the treatment was successful and that you did not develop any issues, such as infection. If the pockets do not diminish, your dentist may advise you to return for another operation. Following your teeth scaling and root planing, you should continue your routine dental care practices. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing on a regular basis are part of this. To prevent the disease from recurring, you should also follow a healthy, balanced diet and visit your dentist for regular cleanings.

    In fact, you'll most likely be put on a periodontal maintenance cleaning program that requires you to return on a regular basis. Returning for routine cleanings every three to four months as opposed to every six months.


    What is tooth polishing?

    Tooth polishing

    Tooth polishing is a dental technique that is used to avoid tooth issues. It also helps teeth seem whiter, less stained, and more gleaming. This surgery enhances dental health and tooth attractiveness. Previously, tooth polishing was performed as part of normal dental prophylaxis. However, it was quickly discovered that abuse of this procedure erodes the outermost coating of the tooth structure. The loss of the outer framework exposes the teeth to stains and plaque collection. Furthermore, repeated use of this technique eliminates the protective fluoride coating that surrounds the teeth. Dentists no longer advocate tooth polishing as a standard dental operation, and a rigorous case selection is performed before this procedure.

    your teeth are bright and smooth, your dentist will polish your teeth with other equipment and a specific substance. Your teeth may need to be cleaned every six months, depending on your dental health.

    Tooth polishing is a treatment that not only polishes the teeth but also eliminates dental stains, plaque, and bacteria that have accumulated on the teeth's outer surface. The primary advantage of tooth polishing over dental scaling (deep cleaning) is that it is a painless technique. Furthermore, patients immediately notice clean and smooth teeth following the surgery.


    Tooth Polishing Procedures

    Tooth Polishing Procedure

    Tooth Polishing Procedures include:

    • Therapeutic polishing: During a dental surgical operation, the cementum protecting the root is frequently exposed. Therapeutic polishing aids in the elimination of microorganisms and endotoxins from the cementum surface.
    • Coronal/cosmetic polishing: This polishing method eliminates plaque and superficial tooth discoloration. To make the enamel (the outer layer covering the crown of the tooth) glossy, superfine abrasive agents are utilized. The enamel surface has been polished to the point that it may even reflect visible light.
    • Superficial polishing: This method polishes the tooth's crown. This method, however, has no medicinal advantages and is mostly used to improve the cosmetic look of the teeth.
    • Selective polishing: Is often referred to as extrinsic stain removal or selective stain removal. This polishing process is advised after scaling and eliminates any leftover stains.


    Which stains can Tooth Polishing remove?

    Endogenous stains

    Endogenous and exogenous dental stains are the two types. 

    • Endogenous stains are internal stains produced by dental abnormalities including developmental or drug-induced enamel hypoplasia.
    • Exogenous stains are exterior stains caused by poor teeth hygiene and smoking.

    Tooth polishing can only remove external stains and cannot remove internal or endogenous stains.

    Things to Remember When Polishing Your Teeth:

    • A proper method should be used during the treatment to reduce abrasion on the tooth surface.
    • A polishing agent that is less abrasive should be utilized.
    • Pressure, polishing device speed, and procedure time should all be closely monitored.


    Prophylaxis Paste Application

    Prophylaxis Paste

    Prophylaxis paste is applied to the area of the tooth surface that has to be polished. Some pastes with larger particle sizes are more effective at eliminating exterior stains and plaque. Some dentists like using these pastes because they remove teeth stains fast and effortlessly. These pastes, however, have high abrasive strength and can cause tooth structural loss. Smaller particle size prophylaxis pastes keep the tooth surface cleaner, glossy, and smooth. These pastes also reduce plaque and stain buildup on the tooth surface. However, polishing with these pastes is a time-consuming and hard process.

    The following are some significant variables that make tooth polishing more effective:

    • The number of rotations per minute of a polishing instrument, such as a rubber cup
    • The amount of pressure imparted to the tooth surface by the rubber cup during polishing
    • The prophylactic paste's coarseness
    • The duration of the process

    Tooth polishing should begin with coarse abrasion and progress to fine abrasion. This progressive transition from coarse to finer abrasion produces scratches less than 0.5 cm in size. These scratches are smaller in diameter than the wavelength of visible light, making the tooth surface look more polished and lustrous. However, the abrasive agent should be carefully chosen since its hardness should not surpass the hardness of the surface to be polished.


    Tooth Polishing Equipment

    Tooth Polishing Equipment

    There are both manual and engine-driven tooth-polishing tools. Dentists utilize manual polishers to manually polish the tooth surface with their hands, whereas engine-driven polishing equipment requires handpieces. Tooth polishing is typically done using a mechanical instrument and a polishing substance.

    Hand-held polishing tools include:

    • polisher for the porte
    • Strips for polishing

    Engine-powered instruments include:

    • Air-powder polisher with rubber cups

    The Vector System

    • Polishing fluids are used in this procedure to polish the tooth surfaces. This procedure is superior to the others since it produces little or no harm to the tooth structure. This procedure polishes the tooth surface with hydroxyapatite polishing fluid and silicon carbide abrasive fluid.


    How often should we schedule a scale and polishing appointment?

    Scale and polishing process

    A visit to the dentist every 6 to 12 months is recommended to avoid a substantial buildup of plaque, tartar, and stains. If there is a lot of accumulation, air polishing, and thorough scaling may be necessary to get rid of it completely. If cavities or gum disease develop as a result of inadequate oral hygiene, further treatment may be necessary.

    Scaling and polishing your teeth can assist to make them seem cleaner and brighter by eliminating surface stains caused by coffee, tea, and smoking. If you want to enhance the color of your teeth, you may need to consider cosmetic teeth whitening. Cosmetic whitening procedures to acquire a whiter tooth shade, and bleach the structure of your teeth.


    Is scaling and polishing painful?

    Scaling and polishing

    While you may experience some scraping, scaling and polishing are typically painless. A deep cleaning may cause some discomfort or sensitivity, which can be alleviated with topical anesthetic cream or local anesthetic that numbs the gums and tooth roots.



    Scaling and root planing are standard treatments for persistent periodontal disease. This outpatient treatment can be performed at your dentist's office with or without local anesthetic. Scaling is the removal of plaque and tartar from the teeth and gum line using an ultrasonic cleaning tool. Plaque and tartar, if allowed to collect, will contain bacteria that can cause decay and gum disease. After the teeth have been scaled, we polish them to eliminate exterior stains and smooth their surfaces. For stubborn stains, we can use a spinning brush with cleaning paste or an air-powder spray. As a consequence, you will have clean, smooth, and shiny teeth that are easy to maintain.