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Scale and polish is a process used by our dentists, dental therapists and hygienists to remove plaque and tartar from the surface of your teeth followed by a polish to smooth the surface and make it hard for bacteria to stick to them.
Plaque is a soft, sticky film that builds up on your teeth and contains millions of bacteria. The bacteria in plaque cause tooth decay and gum disease if they are not removed regularly through proper brushing and flossing.
Tartar, also known as calculus, is essentially plaque that has hardened on your teeth. Tartar can build up around or under the gumline which can irritate the gums. Tartar also provides an ideal surface upon which further plaque can grow leading to more serious conditions, such as cavities and gum disease.
Teeth are continually covered in saliva which contains calcium that helps to strengthen and protect them. However a build-up of calcium deposits on the teeth – a chalky substance not dissimilar to limescale in a kettle helps bacteria to adhere to the teeth and thrive.
At Parkway we use modern instruments to remove plaque and calculus without damaging the surface of the teeth. The first is the ultrasonic which dislodges the plaque and calculus using the super-fast tiny vibrations of its rounded tips whilst spraying a fine mist of water to keep the working area cool and wash away any debris.
We will then use smaller hand tools such as scalers and curettes to remove smaller deposits and smooth the tooth surfaces.
Once the surfaces of the teeth are as smooth as they can be we’ll then polish your teeth using a slow speed polisher comprising a hand piece with a rotating soft rubber cup on the end that is filled with a fine abrasive paste similar to toothpaste.
To strengthen the surface of your teeth weakened by the acids from bacteria, plaque and tartar your dentist, dental therapist or hygienist may then apply fluoride using flexible foam trays.
Feedback from our patients suggest that this is possibly one of the most satisfying dental procedures as there is little or no pain and the results (smooth clean teeth) are obvious.
We also know that in the days following their hygienist appointment patients are usually motivated to brush and floss as directed but it’s maintaining that enthusiasm that is vital to maintaining healthy teeth and gums.