Teeth Scaling And Polishing | Know Before Your Appointment



The beholder of a beautiful smile makes everyone bound to be bewitched while s/he smiles. Though teeth are an evitable part of a beautiful smile, we are sometimes careless about our dental hygiene. Consequently, our teeth get a bacterial plaque, also known as tarter or calculus, (the brown hard substance grown and attached to teeth at the bottom including the periodontal pockets of gum) which leads to gum disease and dental decay. These make the teeth look uglier, hence decrease the charm of a smile. To recover from these deceased conditions, we need teeth scaling or dental scaling and then polishing teeth. 

However, you are on the right page to know detailed information about teeth scaling and polishing as the article includes all the necessary information about these dental treatments in a non-medical approach. So, you are expected to go over with us till the end to make you learned and confident before you go to your dental surgeon.


I. Introduction
II. Understanding Teeth Scaling
    a. Teeth Scaling
    b. Why Dental Scaling is Necessary?
    C. When is Teeth Scaling Recommended?
    d. Benefits of Teeth Scaling
    e. Teeth Scaling Side Effects
III. Before And After Teeth Scaling
    a. Preparing for Teeth Scaling
    b. Anesthesia and Pain Management
    c. Tools and Techniques Used in Teeth Scaling
    d. How to Remove Plaque from Teeth? (Step-by-step Procedure)
    e. Duration and Aftercare
IV. Post-Scaling Dental Care
V. Polishing Teeth
VI. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
VII. Conclusion


II. Understanding Teeth Scaling


Teeth Scaling

You may wonder what teeth scaling is if you are not acquainted with dental terminologies. To make the term easier for you, dental scaling is the removal of the brown hard substance (bacterial plaque) from the teeth. It is a non-surgical dental treatment that is very normal and causes no harm to the gum or the teeth. Though it is a normal treatment, it saves a lot because of its benefits.


Why Dental Scaling is Necessary 

dental scaling is necessary for maintaining proper dental hygiene. A normal sticky substance is continuously produced inside our mouth and deposited there all day long. We need to clean the substance to protect bacterial growth and to breathe fresh, but regular brushing and flossing cannot clean the whole mouth as a regular toothbrush cannot reach out to all the parts inside the mouth. As a result the substance gradually forms hard plaque or calculus within the bottom of the teeth and gum line. This hard plaque destroys tooth enamel and causes bacterial infection and thus dental decay. This bacterial infection may lead to other acute or severe medical conditions, i.e. Bad Breath, Gingivitis, Cavities, turning the teeth yellow, heart diseases, and many more. To protect against any kinds of medical conditions and maintain proper dental hygiene teeth scaling is performed.


When is Teeth Scaling Recommended?

For people with no dental diseases, dentists recommend getting teeth scaling done twice a year (every 6 months) to maintain proper dental hygiene. However, patients with frequent gum bleeding and excessive plaque buildup tendency are advised to get it done in 2 to 4-month intervals.  For both sound and diseased people, it is important to get the Scaling and polishing of teeth sessions done as indicated by the doctor.


Benefits of Teeth Scaling

  1. Improved oral health: Scaling helps to remove plaque and tartar buildup, reducing the risk of gum disease, gingivitis, and periodontitis.
  2. Fresher breath: By eliminating the bacteria that cause bad breath, scaling can lead to improved breath odor.
  3. Prevents tooth loss: Gum diseases can lead to tooth loss, but regular scaling can help prevent this by maintaining healthy gums.
  4. Enhances aesthetics: Scaling can remove surface stains, making teeth appear whiter and brighter.
  5. Supports overall health: Poor oral hygiene has been linked to various systemic conditions, and scaling contributes to better overall health.

Teeth Scaling Side Effects

  1. Gum irritation: After scaling, some patients may experience mild gum sensitivity or irritation.
  2. Tooth sensitivity: Teeth may become sensitive to hot or cold temperatures temporarily after scaling.
  3. Gum recession: In some cases, overaggressive scaling may cause gum recession (a gum disease), leading to exposed tooth roots.
  4. Infection: If proper sterilization techniques are not followed, there is a small risk of infection.
  5. Discomfort: The procedure may cause mild discomfort, but local anesthesia is usually used to minimize this.

Overall, the benefits of dental scaling in maintaining good oral health and preventing serious dental issues typically outweigh the minimal scaling of teeth side effects associated with the procedure. It’s essential to have regular dental check-ups and follow proper oral hygiene practices to ensure optimal dental health.


III. Before And After Teeth Scaling


A. Preparing for Teeth Scaling: 

The preparation for Teeth Scaling from both doctor’s and patient’s end is important. The doctor evaluates medical findings and implements the treatment. And, the patient’s role is a bit indirect; s/he (p) maintains the doctor’s advice to make the body compatible with the treatment. 

  1. Dental Examination and Assessment: Before performing any dental procedure, the dentist conducts an oral examination to assess the overall health of the teeth and gums. The doctor checks for any signs of dental issues such as cavities, gum disease, or other oral problems that may need attention. 

In some cases, dental X-rays may be taken to get a more detailed view of the teeth and supporting structures. X-rays can help identify issues that may not be visible during the visual examination, such as decay between teeth or beneath the gum line.

  1. Patient’s Role in Preparing for the Procedure: The patient’s role in this regard is to share health concerns (if any), updated medical history, follow pre-appointment instructions, and maintain good oral hygiene.

B. Anesthesia and Pain Management

You already have known the answer to the question, what is scaling of teeth? Now, it’s time to learn about the Anesthesia and Pain Management applied while removing tartar on teeth (scaling). As teeth scaling is generally considered a non-invasive dental procedure, it typically does not require the use of profound anesthesia or sedation. The use of topical anesthesia and distraction techniques is usually sufficient to ensure a comfortable experience for most patients. However, dental professionals do take steps to ensure the patient’s comfort during the scaling process. The main methods of pain management and anesthesia used for dental scaling are as follows:

  • Topical Anesthesia
  • Local Anesthesia (Rarely Used)
  • Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)
  • Distraction Techniques

C. Tools and Techniques Used in Teeth Scaling

Tooth doctors use many tools and techniques for effective teeth scaling. Here is a list of some common tools and techniques used in teeth scaling:

  • Dental Scalers
  • Hand Scalers
  • Ultrasonic Scalers
  • Dental Curettes
  • Air Polishers
  • Dental Handpieces
  • Dental Mirrors
  • Dental Suction
  • Dental Syringes

D. How to Remove Plaque from Teeth? (Step-by-step Procedure)

Your dental dr. know how to remove plaque from teeth well. It’s done through teeth scaling, also known as dental scaling or professional dental cleaning, which is a common procedure performed by dental professionals to remove plaque, tartar, and stains from the teeth. It is an important part of maintaining good oral hygiene and preventing dental problems. Here’s a step-by-step guide to the teeth scaling procedure:

Step 1: Preparing the Patient

– The patient is welcomed into the dental office and taken to the examination area.

– The dental hygienist or dentist discusses the procedure with the patient and addresses any concerns or questions.

– The patient’s medical and dental history is reviewed to identify any potential scaling of teeth side effects or contraindications.

Step 2: Initial Examination

– Before proceeding with scaling, the dental professional performs a thorough examination of the patient’s mouth, gums, and teeth.

– They use a dental mirror and probe to check for signs of gum disease, cavities, or other dental issues.

Step 3: Taking X-rays (if necessary)

– If the patient has not had recent dental X-rays, the dentist may take them to assess the overall health of the teeth and jawbone.

Step 4: Plaque and Tartar Detection

– The dental professional uses a disclosing solution or special dental instruments to identify areas with plaque and tartar buildup.

– Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth, and tartar is hardened plaque that cannot be removed by regular brushing and flossing.

Step 5: Teeth Scaling

– The dental scaling process begins with the use of ultrasonic instruments or handheld scalers. Ultrasonic instruments use high-frequency vibrations to break up and remove large deposits of tartar from the teeth.

– Handheld scalers are used to remove smaller and more stubborn deposits of plaque and tartar. The dentist or dental hygienist carefully scales the teeth, working on all surfaces, including between teeth and along the gumline.

– A constant flow of water is used during scaling to wash away debris and keep the area cool.

Step 6: Polishing Teeth

– After scaling, the dental professional uses a prophy paste, which is a gritty toothpaste-like substance, along with a soft rubber cup or brush, to polish the teeth.

– polishing teeth smoothens the tooth surfaces, making it harder for plaque to adhere, and it also helps remove surface stains, giving the teeth a shiny appearance.

Step 7: Flossing

– The dental hygienist or dentist flosses between the teeth to ensure that all plaque and debris are removed from the interdental spaces.

Step 8: Fluoride Treatment (optional)

– Some dental offices offer a fluoride treatment after scaling and polishing of teeth. Fluoride helps strengthen the enamel and can be applied as a gel, foam, or varnish.

Step 9: Oral Health Education

– The dental professional provides the patient with oral hygiene instructions, including proper brushing and flossing techniques, and advice on maintaining good oral health.

Step 10: Post-Procedure Examination

– After the scaling procedure, the dental professional examines the patient’s mouth again to ensure that all plaque, tartar, and stains have been adequately removed.

Step 11: Follow-up Recommendations

– The patient may be advised to schedule regular dental check-ups and cleanings, typically every six months, to maintain optimal oral health.

It’s important to note that teeth scaling should only be performed by a qualified dental professional. The procedure is generally safe and well-tolerated, but some patients may experience slight sensitivity or gum tenderness after scaling, which usually heals within a few days. If you have any specific concerns or dental issues, it’s best to consult with your dentist before the procedure.


E. Duration and Aftercare


The duration of dental scaling can vary depending on the individual’s oral health and the extent of plaque and tartar buildup. Generally, a routine dental scaling procedure can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. However, if there is significant buildup or additional dental issues to address, the procedure might take longer.


Immediate aftercare:

Immediate aftercare following dental procedures is crucial for promoting healing, minimizing discomfort, and preventing complications. The specific aftercare instructions may vary depending on the type of dental procedure you underwent, but here are some common guidelines for immediate aftercare:

  1. Pain Management: Some dental procedures can cause discomfort or mild pain. Your dentist may prescribe pain relievers or recommend over-the-counter medications to manage any post-procedure pain. Always follow the prescribed dosage and consult your dentist if you experience severe or prolonged pain.
  2. Bleeding Control: If your procedure involves extractions or gum treatments, there may be some initial bleeding. Your dentist will provide gauze pads to place over the affected area and may instruct you to apply gentle pressure. Avoid vigorous rinsing or spitting, as it can disrupt the clotting process.
  3. Swelling Reduction: Swelling is common after certain dental procedures. Applying a cold pack or ice wrapped in a cloth to the affected area for 15-20 minutes at a time can help reduce swelling and inflammation. Be sure to follow your dentist’s recommendations regarding the use of ice.
  4. Oral Hygiene: Good oral hygiene is essential for optimal healing. However, be gentle when brushing and flossing near the treated area to avoid causing any irritation or damage. Your dentist may recommend using a special mouthwash or saltwater rinse to keep the area clean.
  5. Avoiding Certain Foods and Habits: After dental procedures, it’s best to stick to soft or liquid foods initially to avoid putting pressure on the treated area. Avoid hot, spicy, or acidic foods, as they can cause discomfort. Additionally, refrain from smoking and alcohol consumption, as they can hinder the healing process.
  6. Medications and Antibiotics: If your dentist prescribed antibiotics or any other medications, take them as directed to prevent infection and promote healing.
  7. Rest and Recovery: Allow your body to rest and recover after the dental procedure. Avoid strenuous physical activities that may cause any discomfort or bleeding.
  8. Follow-up Appointments: Adhere to any follow-up appointments scheduled with your dentist. These visits are essential for monitoring your healing progress and addressing any concerns or issues that may arise.

Remember that the immediate aftercare period plays a significant role in the success of your dental treatment. If you have any questions or experience unusual symptoms during this time, do not hesitate to contact your dentist for guidance and support. 


IV. Post-Scaling Dental Care


Long-term dental hygiene practices are essential for maintaining optimal oral health throughout one’s life. Good dental hygiene not only ensures healthy teeth and gums but also plays a significant role in overall well-being. Consistently following proper oral care routines and adopting healthy habits can prevent various dental issues and potential systemic health problems. Here are some key long-term dental hygiene practices to consider:

1. Regular Brushing: 

Want to know how to remove plaque on teeth forever? Your answer is regular brushing if you get your dental scaling done! Brush your teeth at least twice a day, ideally after meals, using fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brushing helps remove plaque, bacteria, and food particles from the surfaces of your teeth, reducing the risk of cavities and gum disease.

2. Flossing Daily: 

Flossing is an essential part of dental hygiene that should not be overlooked. It helps clean between teeth and below the gumline, where toothbrushes can’t reach effectively. Flossing prevents plaque buildup, reduces gum inflammation, and decreases the likelihood of gum disease.

3. Proper Technique: 

Using the right brushing and flossing technique is crucial. Brush gently in circular motions, ensuring you cover all tooth surfaces and the gumline. When flossing, curve the floss around each tooth in a C-shape and slide it up and down to clean both sides.

4. Mouthwash: 

Incorporating an antimicrobial mouthwash into your daily routine can help control bacteria and freshen your breath. However, mouthwash is not a substitute for brushing and flossing, so it should be used in addition to these practices.

5. Healthy Diet: 

What you eat significantly impacts your dental health. Limit sugary and acidic foods and drinks as they can lead to tooth decay. Instead, focus on a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Calcium-rich foods like dairy products and leafy greens are also beneficial for your teeth.

6. Limiting Snacking: 

Frequent snacking can contribute to an increased risk of cavities. Whenever you eat, especially sugary or starchy foods, your mouth produces acids that attack your teeth. Limit snacking between meals to give your teeth time to recover from acid attacks.

7. Regular Dental Check-ups: 

Schedule regular dental check-ups and cleanings with your dentist, typically every six months. These visits allow your dentist to detect early signs of dental issues, perform professional cleanings, and provide personalized advice on maintaining your oral health.

8. Addressing Dental Issues Promptly:

 If you experience any dental problems, such as tooth pain, sensitivity, or bleeding gums, don’t delay seeking dental care. Early intervention can prevent minor issues from becoming more severe and costly to treat.

9. Avoiding Tobacco Products:

 Tobacco use is detrimental to oral health and can lead to gum disease, tooth loss, and oral cancer. Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco to protect your teeth and overall health.

10. Protecting Teeth during Physical Activities: 

If you participate in contact sports or activities that could pose a risk to your teeth, consider wearing a mouthguard. A mouthguard provides an extra layer of protection against dental injuries.

11. Maintaining Proper Oral Hygiene Habits for Children: 

Teach children good dental hygiene practices from a young age. Help them with brushing and flossing until they can do it effectively on their own. Encourage healthy eating habits and limit sugary snacks and drinks.

By adopting these long-term dental hygiene practices, you can safeguard your oral health and enjoy a bright, healthy smile throughout your life. Remember that dental health is an integral part of overall well-being, and investing in preventive care today can save you from potential dental issues and health complications in the future. Always consult your dentist for personalized advice and guidance tailored to your unique dental needs (teeth scaling before and after).


V. Polishing Teeth


Polishing teeth is a common dental procedure aimed at removing surface stains and plaque buildup from the teeth, resulting in a smoother, brighter, and more polished appearance. It is usually performed by dental hygienists as part of regular dental cleaning or prophylaxis (scaling).

The process begins with a thorough dental cleaning (scaling) when the tooth dr. removes plaque and tartar using specialized tools like scalers and ultrasonic instruments. Once the teeth are free of debris, the teeth polishing phase begins.

A small, soft rubber cup or a prophy brush is used to apply a specially formulated polishing paste to the teeth. This paste typically contains abrasive particles and fluoride to aid in the polishing process and protect against tooth decay.

The dental hygienist then gently moves the polishing tool across the surfaces of the teeth, removing superficial stains and creating a smoother surface. This smooth surface not only enhances the appearance of the teeth but also makes it more difficult for plaque to adhere, reducing the risk of future stains and promoting better oral hygiene.


VI. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


1. What is teeth scaling, and why is it necessary?

Teeth scaling is a dental procedure that involves the thorough removal of plaque, tartar, and stains from the teeth’s surfaces, both above and below the gumline. It is necessary because even with regular brushing and flossing, some areas of the mouth may still accumulate plaque and tartar, leading to gum inflammation, periodontal disease, and dental decay. Scaling helps prevent these issues, contributing to overall oral health.

2. Is teeth scaling painful?

No, teeth scaling is not typically painful. The procedure is performed using specialized dental instruments, such as scalers and ultrasonic devices, which help remove plaque and tartar efficiently without causing pain. However, if you have sensitive teeth or gums, you might experience some mild discomfort during the process. Your dentist or dental hygienist can apply local anesthesia if necessary to make the experience more comfortable.

3. How often should teeth scaling be done?

The frequency of teeth scaling depends on an individual’s oral health needs. For most people, getting a professional dental cleaning every six months is sufficient to maintain good oral hygiene. However, if you have a history of gum disease or other oral health issues, your dentist might recommend more frequent scaling visits, such as every three to four months.

4. Can’t regular brushing and flossing replace teeth scaling?

While regular brushing and flossing are crucial for maintaining oral health, they cannot completely remove all the plaque and tartar that accumulate over time. Certain areas, especially those that are difficult to reach with a toothbrush or floss, are prone to plaque buildup. Dental scaling complements your daily oral hygiene routine by removing these stubborn deposits, preventing potential dental problems.

5. Are there any teeth scaling side effects?

The teeth scaling side effects are usually minimal and temporary. Some people may experience slight sensitivity or tenderness in their gums for a day or two after the procedure. However, this discomfort subsides quickly. If you notice any persistent issues, it’s essential to contact your dentist to ensure there are no complications.

6. Can teeth scaling whiten the teeth?

Teeth scaling can help remove certain surface stains caused by food, drinks, or smoking. However, it is not a teeth-whitening procedure. If you desire whiter teeth, you may need to explore polishing teeth option separately.

7. How long does the teeth scaling procedure take?

The duration of the teeth scaling procedure depends on the extent of plaque and tartar buildup and the overall condition of your oral health. On average, a routine teeth scaling session can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.

8. What is polishing teeth?

A: If you can answer what is scaling in dental, you can understand teeth polishing easily. It is a dental procedure performed by dental professionals that not only polishes teeth but also removes stains, plaque, and tartar from the surface of teeth, and makes them smooth and shiny. It is typically done after teeth scaling to enhance the appearance of teeth and prevent future staining.

9. Can polishing teeth whiten teeth?

A: Polishing teeth can improve the appearance of teeth and remove surface stains, which might give the illusion of slightly whiter teeth. However, it is not a tooth whitening procedure like professional teeth bleaching. Polishing only removes external stains and does not change the natural color of the teeth.

10. How often should teeth polishing be done?

A: The frequency of teeth polishing depends on an individual’s oral health and lifestyle factors. In general, it is recommended to have teeth polishing done as part of your regular dental check-up and cleaning, which is usually every six months. However, if you have a higher risk of stains or are prone to plaque buildup, your dentist might suggest more frequent polishing.

11. Can I do teeth polishing at home with a toothbrush and toothpaste?

A: Both teeth polishing and scaling should be done by a dental professional using specialized equipment and dental polishing paste. Attempting to polish your teeth at home using a regular toothbrush and toothpaste can be harmful, as it may lead to enamel damage and gum irritation. Stick to regular brushing, flossing, and professional dental cleanings to maintain good oral hygiene.

12. Are there any side effects of polishing teeth?

A: Polishing teeth is a safe procedure when performed by a trained dental professional. However, some people may experience temporary tooth sensitivity or mild gum irritation after the procedure. If you have sensitive teeth or gum issues, inform your dentist before the polishing process.

13. Can polishing teeth prevent cavities?

A: Teeth polishing primarily focuses on removing stains and plaque from the tooth surfaces. While it can contribute to overall oral health by reducing bacterial buildup, it is not a substitute for proper dental care, including regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups. Preventing cavities involves a combination of good oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits.



Because of going through the article, I am sure, now you are not confusing the two terms teeth scaling and teeth polishing. You also know it well, polishing is performed after the scaling procedure is done. You may be confident enough to get your scaling done by a qualified dentist. 

However, maintaining regular dental check-ups and cleanings is essential for a healthy smile. If you have specific concerns about teeth polishing and scaling, don’t hesitate to discuss them with your dentist or dental hygienist. They can provide personalized advice and address any worries you may have before and after teeth scaling and polishing.


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