In students in dental hygiene school were all taught to polish the teeth. But what is the real purpose of this gritty polishing? Stain removal. Is this final procedure really necessary? For years we have all had our teeth polished. When I talk about a teeth cleaning, it is the polishing that is remembered by most of my patients. This polishing can be completed before or after the scaling or tartar removal. But what is the most important part of the dental cleaning procedure? Actually it is the dental scaling that is most important. So when a dental hygienist starts to polish your teeth, consider a selective polish. It is the teeth that have stain that truly need to be polished.
Polish vs Scale/Clean
The true purpose of a dental cleaning is to remove tartar from the teeth, both above and below the gum line. When tartar is left on the tooth structure, next to the gums, inflammation and infection will ensue. You can brush and floss all you want, but this will not remove the tartar. Tartar is a hard, rough and porous rock like substance. The only thing that will remove it from your tooth structure is a sharp dental instrument or a ultrasonic scaler type instrument. Polishing is performed to remove extrinsic stain. Stain from tea, coffee, food coloring etc. If there is no stain present on the teeth, polishing is really not necessary. If polishing is performed, a paste with the least amount of abrassive should be used for the stain removal. Polishing removes microns of tooth structure, thus, with good reason a mild paste should be used. Polishing with a coarse paste can over time abraid white composite fillings and remove the glaze from porcelain crowns. At Dental Fitness & Spa we use a powder that is sort of a ‘pre-wash’ powder on the heaviest stain. This allows us to use a mild abrasive to remove heavy stain.
This procedure allows the Dental Hygienist to decide which tooth really needs to be polished. For the sake of polishing, really it will be up to the patient to make the decision to have their teeth polished. If you’d like I can hand you a toothbrush and some paste and if you prefer, just brush. If there is no stain present, why abraid the tooth?
Are you needing your teeth cleaned? We would love to see you and help you stay healthy. Dental Fitness & Spa (970) 214-8420 Do you have a friend or family member in another county in Colorado? Check out our new site Myteethcleaned.com and find a dental hygienist in their area.