Scaling & Polishing

Scaling & Polishing

Polishing and scaling is a thorough procedure to clean and remove all traces of plaque and tartar in your mouth, both the visible part above the gums and just under the gums where the toothbrush is unable to reach. Despite regular and proper dental habits, bacteria and plaque may still lurk in places which you cannot see with your naked eye. Scaling is used to remove the hard tartar, plaque, bacteria toxins and calculus (the white or yellow hard deposits that accumulate on your teeth) from the surfaces below the gum line which cannot be removed by simply brushing your teeth.

The polishing process helps to clean away stains from your teeth which are usually caused by coffee, tea or red wine. Polishing will also leave your teeth smooth and shiny.

For patients with gum disease, a deeper scaling procedure, known as root planing, will be required to clean around the roots of the teeth. Depending on severity, our dentist may discuss the option of using a local anaesthetic, so that the root planing process will feel less sensitive and uncomfortable.

It is important to have regular polishing and scaling to help maintain health teeth and gums and it will make it easier to clean your teeth at home. After the thorough cleaning process, your teeth will look and feel different.

An early sign of gum disease is bleeding gums when you are brushing your teeth. Let your dentist know early and visit us for regular scaling to prevent the gum disease from worsening. This will also prevent bad breath caused by gum disease.

To prevent tooth decay

Plaque is a naturally occurring substance that builds up on the surfaces of the teeth. When this happens, it hardens to form calculus or tartar. Bacteria thrives in the crevices formed by the plaque and calculus, which when mixed with food debris will increase the risk of tooth decay.

To prevent gum disease

When plaque and calculus have built up, the gums will be irritated thus causing inflammation of gums. This is called gingivitis or gum disease. Your gums and jaw bone form the foundation for your teeth. If one have unhealthy gums, the bone around your teeth can be lost too. When your teeth no longer have good foundations and can no longer be held in place, they become loose and eventually fall out or have to be extracted.


Our dentist will perform the scaling process with a combination of hand and motorised instruments (such as an ultrasonic tip, which vibrates at high frequency to remove tartar) and the polishing process with a high speed brush or rubber cup together with special cleaning pastes. The debris which is removed by this process cannot be removed by daily brushing habits alone.

A lot of water is used to cool the scaling tools and to wash away the debris as it is removed. The dentist will then use a suction pipe to suck away the excess water during the process. Tooth scaling can sometimes be sensitive, especially if your gums have receded and the top of the root of the tooth is exposed. Depending on severity, the dentist can give you an injection to numb each area of your mouth to minimise the sensitivity. However, this will require more than one visit as it is impossible to numb the whole mouth at a go.

Benefits of Scaling & Polishing

Scaling and polishing removes the bacterial deposits that constantly form around your teeth and gums. Regular oral hygiene maintenance is essential in preventing common dental problems such as dental cavities and gum problems. It also ensures clean and brighter looking teeth.

Treatment Process

  1. Examination and assessment of dental condition.
  2. Scaling with gentle ultrasonics to remove calculus. This is done with dental loupes which magnify the vision, enabling the scaling process to be done in a precise and gentle manner.
  3. Flossing and polishing to remove plaque.

FAQs on Scaling & Polishing

  1. Will frequent scaling and polishing damage my teeth?
    The process is perfectly safe and will not damage teeth. The instruments used are designed to remove hardened calculus effectively without damaging teeth surfaces.
  2. How often should I have scaling and polishing done?
    The frequency depends on the individual’s needs. For most people requiring regular maintenance, scaling and polishing should be done once every 4 to 6 months.
  3. Why is scaling and polishing necessary when I am already cleaning well at home?
    The process removes hardened calculus that cannot be removed by simple tooth brushing at home. Good oral care maintenance at home is still important as it helps to prevent the formation of plaque, while scaling and polishing removes any calculus that has formed.
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