What happens during professional teeth cleaning?
February 28, 2023
Sometimes after your check-up, your dentist will recommend that you return for a scale and polish.
In dental lingo, you are being recommended to receive professional teeth cleaning, in which your dental professional will remove plaque and tartar and polish the teeth.
As well as providing a whitening effect, professional teeth cleaning in London ensures the general, continued health of the gums and teeth, so should not be missed if it is deemed necessary for you to attend.
But what specifically does professional teeth cleaning involve?
Your dentist or dental hygienist will begin your appointment by checking your teeth and gums for signs of plaque build-up, tartar, gingivitis, possible cavities and other dental concerns that could need treatment.
These conditions can tell the dentist a lot about not only your oral hygiene routines as well as your diet and your general health, so they may ask some questions at this time relating to these areas.
This is usually when the dentist will start using a code, called the Palmer notation, to communicate with their dental assistant. They will assign each tooth and gum a number that describes their position in the mouth, and another number which describes the condition of your tooth and the corresponding gum, including any dental concerns.
The next step is cleaning your teeth, using the observations they have made during your check-up.
Why do I need a dental scale & polish?
During teeth cleaning, the next step is often referred to as a scale and polish.
Designed to remove plaque and tartar, scaling and polishing are very important for stopping dental decay and gum disease.
Often confused with tartar, plaque forms first as a soft, sticky film that builds up on the teeth and gums throughout the day whenever you eat or drink- especially carbohydrates or sugars.
Inside the sticky film are millions of bacteria that produce acid once you’ve eaten. This acid then erodes your tooth enamel, causing cavities, or holes, in the tooth.
Tartar on the other hand accumulates when plaque is left on the teeth long-term, causing discolouration, sensitivity, gum recession, and periodontal (gum) disease.
Patients can reduce and remove plaque by following a good oral hygiene schedule, but tartar can only be removed by professional teeth cleaning, during a scale and polish.
What happens during a scale and polish?
To remove tartar, dental professionals will use ultrasonic instruments that break down the tartar residue on the teeth.
They are designed to carefully remove accumulations without damaging the teeth and gums.
Scalers and curettes are then used to remove the remaining deposits that often develop between the teeth.
The final step of teeth cleaning involves polishing the teeth.
Tartar can be yellow, brown, or even black in some cases. Once the tartar pockets have been removed from your teeth, they will begin to look much cleaner and brighter.
To enhance brightening further, during teeth cleaning, dental professionals will use a small rotary brush to buff away stains and polish the teeth, to make them look whiter and give a glossy finish.
As well as improving the appearance of the teeth, polishing is beneficial for your general dental health. It removes plaque, freshens the breath, and helps you to avoid tooth decay for longer.
A scale and polish are great alternatives to whitening treatments. The brighter, whiter finish increases a patient’s confidence while improving overall dental health – with teeth cleaning, you can treat two concerns at once.
Contact The London Centre for Cosmetic Dentistry for professional teeth cleaning today
If your teeth are looking a little yellow and tired, a great way of improving your dental health and making your teeth appear brighter and whiter is by booking professional teeth cleaning.
Here at The London Centre for Cosmetic Dentistry, we have been providing a 5-star service for our patients for more than 35 years, creating beautiful, healthy mouths and building excellent patient relationships.
To find out more about our service and the relationship we build with our patients, browse our patient testimonials.