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What is a scale and polish and why is it so important?

As a dental clinic one of the main objections we hear when we recommend a scale and polish is, “Oh I don’t need that I brush, floss and use mouthwash every day.”

While everyday oral hygiene remains incredibly important, no matter how diligently you brush, tartar and plaque will still build up.

Unfortunately, plaque contains bacteria that lead to gum disease. So even if you clean your teeth twice or even three times a day, you may still be at risk of developing gum disease.

Areas that can’t be reached with a toothbrush are at particular risk of tartar buildup. Excessive tartar build-up leads to accumulations called calculus. This hard crusty deposit can’t be removed with brushing alone and requires a dentist.

What to Expect from a Scale and Polish

A scale and polish is a professional tooth cleaning. However, a dentist doesn’t just rely on a toothbrush and toothpaste, they use a variety of instruments to remove plaque and tartar deposits.

The first stage of a scale and polish is the scraping phase. A dentist will use their sickle probe – the instrument with a hook at the end – to scrape away tartar and plaque build-up. Depending on the amount of build-up this can take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. And in some cases even longer.

The polish phase makes the teeth feel incredibly smooth and clean. While a polish does help remove stains and leaves teeth with a healthy shine, it’s not strictly an aesthetic procedure. By making the teeth smoother and by removing bumps and rough patches a polish helps to minimise areas where plague can begin to build up.

How often Should you book a Scale and Polish

For most people, it’s essential to book a scale and polish at least once every 6 months. Just as a daily brushing isn’t a substitute for a scale and polish, a scale and polish isn’t a substitute for daily brushing. You should still brush daily and schedule a scale and polish twice annually to maintain good oral hygiene. To book a scale and polish in our Dental clinic see our Dental services book now page.

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