Scale & Polish

Dentistry Care

Scale & Polish

To reduce the risk of gum disease or to help stop it from becoming more serious, it is recommended to have a professional clean known as ‘a scale and polish’, to get your teeth properly clean.

What Is Dental Scaling And Polishing?

Over time, even with good teeth cleaning, plaque and tartar can attach to the teeth similar to lime build-up in a kettle or iron. The saliva fluids in our mouths contain calcium and bacteria. The bacteria part that sticks to the teeth is the plaque and the calcium deposit combined with the bacteria is the tartar. When plaque builds up on the teeth, it causes bacterial growth on the teeth and gums that can cause decay and gum disease. Scaling is the dental treatment used to remove the plaque and tartar, and polishing is the treatment to smooth and shine the teeth so that calcium and bacteria cannot as easily attach to the tooth surface.

Who Needs Dental Scaling And Polishing?

All of us at some point need to have our teeth scaled of plaque and tartar build-up, and then polished to reduce the rate of further deposits. As part of good oral hygiene standards, it is recommended to visit the dentist every six months for teeth cleaning and to check up on your overall oral health.

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How Does Dental Scaling And Polishing Contribute To Good Oral Health?

By removing the plaque build-up of bacteria, it reduces tartar and the possibility of tooth decay and gum disease. The bacteria that causes decay and gum disease, and that thrives on tartar accumulation, is less likely to attach to calcium deposits if the teeth are scaled, cleaned and polished with a smooth tartar-free surface.

Is It Safe Not To Have Dental Scaling And Polishing?

Dental scaling and polishing is recommended to prevent tooth decay and gum disease, and may be necessary every six months depending on the oral condition of a patient. Choosing not to visit a dentist regularly, and therefore not to have dental scaling and polishing, can result in excessive tartar build-up, tooth decay and gum diseases. Teeth may rot and fall out or need extracting. The infection can spread to other teeth and to the rest of the body via the root canals and blood vessels. Infection poses not only the danger of losing teeth but also nerve damage and jaw irregularities that affect facial features and appearance. Have teeth properly cleaned contributes to improved oral and overall health, and builds self-confidence because of an appealing appearance.

Why Is Dental Scaling And Polishing Important?

Dental scaling and polishing is important to prevent the spread of infection and disease from the mouth to the rest of the body, that impacts physical and mental health.

How Often Should Teeth Be Scaled And Polished?

According to oral hygiene standards, it is recommended that patients visit the dentist every six months for an oral health check-up, to discuss any medical changes such as new medications that can affect oral wellbeing, and to have teeth cleaned with scaling and polishing where necessary.

What Procedures Are Involved In Scaling And Polishing?

Either the dental hygienist or the resident dentist will use fine scaler and ultrasonic or electric instruments to scale the teeth, removing all plaque and tartar. Tartar is gently removed through vibrations and sprays of water mist from the ultrasonic instrument. The dentist moves the instrument tip over the teeth and you may feel a tickling sensation but usually no pain. The vibration pressure can also be altered to suit tooth sensitivities.
Once all or most of the plaque and tartar is removed, the dentist may use a fine scaler or curette instrument to displace smaller pieces of plaque and tartar that the ultrasonic instrument could not reach. Thereafter, the patient is asked to swill the mouth with a fluoride mouthwash to rinse away all the loose pieces of tartar.

With all the plaque and tartar now removed, and the teeth clean and smooth, the surfaces are ready for polishing. A polishing instrument with a spinning soft rubber cup containing prophylaxis paste is used to further smoothen and shine the teeth surfaces. The polishing may then be followed by a fluoride gel or foam treatment applied via trays to the teeth, and then spewing out of all excess saliva.

Is Dental Scaling And Polishing Safe?

The procedure is safe because dentists are trained to diagnose and identify plaque and tartar deposits. As part of their qualifications, dentists learn how to safely use scaling and polishing instruments, applying the appropriate amount of pressure in each case.

Are Home Dental Scaling And Polishing Kits Safe?

Similar to teeth whitening home kits, teeth scaling and polishing home kits can pose risks to patients because they are not trained to use the tools properly and can cause damage to the enamel of their teeth, and to their gums. It is best to seek professional advice about scaling and polishing teeth, rather than attempting to do so oneself.

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Our Locations

Neo-Derm has clinics in Central London and Greater Manchester. Please advise our team of your preferred location for all of your treatments. Our booking line is open Tuesday to Friday from 11am to 4pm.


405-407 Bury New Road
M25 1AA
0161 425 9600


753 Green Lanes
Winchmore Hill
N21 3SA
020 8360 1179