Polishing is often the last step of a dental cleaning, scaling (deep root cleaning), and some restorative procedures, like when a new crown is placed. It smoothes and polishes the tooth or restoration surface and removes some stains.
What is the polishing procedure?
One of our hygienists will polish your teeth as the last finishing touch to regular cleanings and deep root cleanings (called scaling and planing). When a new restoration like a crown or composite filling has been placed in your mouth, we may polish it as well. We will use either a prophy jet polisher or a rubber cup polisher. The rubber cup holds a small amount of polishing paste which is held against the tooth surface on a spinning handpiece. Think of this as a gentle power sand and buff for your teeth. The prophy jet is more like a power washer, as it uses a jet of water and baking soda to smooth and polish teeth. Both methods are effective for removing some stains, and leaving teeth looking smooth and polished.
Should I have my teeth polished?
While polishing is common, and helpful in certain circumstances, it is not a mandatory part of a standard cleaning. Ask us when and why we recommend polishing teeth.