Tooth Polishing

Tooth polishing is a painless procedure that is done by a dental hygienist with paste and a rubber cup. It removes stains and leaves teeth feeling smooth and clean.


Tooth polishing is an essential part of your dental checkup. It removes soft biofilm and prevents bacterial accumulation. It also reduces the risk of periodontal disease and infections.

It removes stains

Teeth polishing is usually one of the last steps during your dental cleaning appointment (after the hygienist scales away the loose, calcified plaque and tartar buildup.) Your hygienist uses a variety of polishing pastes or powders on a rubber cup, called a prophy, to remove the soft deposits and stains. Most polishing pastes are flavored, so your teeth will have a nice, minty taste after the procedure.

Tooth polishing removes the external stains that build up on your teeth from food and beverage consumption. It also helps to reduce the sensitivity of your teeth. However, it cannot remove internal stains or endogenous stains that are caused by developmental, drug-induced, or environmental conditions.

Some types of stains may be sensitive to tooth polishing materials, especially those that contain calcium carbonate, which can cause damage and discomfort to the gum tissue. The abrasive particles of traditional dental polishing products can also harm some types of restorations and cause trauma to the tooth surface, which can lead to delayed healing or inflammation.

A new, less abrasive tooth polishing system has been developed to eliminate these problems. It combines the gentleness of air flow with a mild polishing agent to prevent damage and discomfort. It is available in different sizes and styles, including a flexible “prophy-jet” that can be used to clean the surfaces of all types of restorations.

It makes your teeth look better

A beautiful smile with white straight teeth can do wonders for your appearance and confidence in social situations. This is why it is important to have them regularly polished and cleaned. Tooth polishing is a simple preventative procedure that can be performed as part of your regular dental checkup. It removes surface stains, which can then be corrected with whitening products.

During the cleaning, a dental hygienist scrapes off the hardened plaque in a process called scaling. After this, they buff and polish the teeth to make them shiny and smooth, putting the finishing touches on your preventative care.

The polishing process can be done with a variety of materials. The most common is pumice, which is a light gray and highly siliceous material that can be used as an abrasive to scrub away external stains from the teeth. This is a very effective method, and it is also safe for sensitive teeth. Other polishing options include calcium carbonate, which is a common ingredient in toothpastes, and zirconium silicate, which is often used as a whitening agent.

Dental hygienists use a brush or rubber cup with the polishing powder on a rotating tool to rub the tooth surface and remove light stains and leftover dental plaque. The rotation speed is kept at a slow level, so the teeth do not become too irritated. Some polishing methods can be messy, but most hygienists use specialized prophy paste that is flavored and easy to rinse off. The most popular flavors are mint, berry, and bubble gum.

It strengthens your teeth

Teeth polishing is usually one of the last steps of your dental cleaning appointment, after your hygienist has scaled away loose plaque and calcified tartar. It involves using a rotating tool with an abrasive dental paste to buff off the surface of your teeth, making them shiny and smooth. This also helps remove any stains that are stuck on the surface of your teeth. Most dental polishes are flavored and leave your mouth with a fresh taste afterward.

While it may seem counterintuitive, removing the bacterial gunk that leads to gum disease and tooth decay makes it easier for your brushing, flossing, and mouth rinse routine to do its job. This is a crucial step in keeping your mouth healthy and avoiding gum disease, tooth loss, and heart disease.

In addition to the benefits of a bright smile, regular polishing can help reduce the bacteria that cause bad breath (halitosis). The primary causes of halitosis are food debris, oral infections, and bacterial growth on the gums and teeth. Tooth polishing helps reduce these bacteria and prevents them from causing further health issues in your mouth.

While the effects of teeth polishing are beneficial, it is important to discuss the procedure with your dentist before undergoing it. It is not necessary for everyone, and it can erode the outer fluoride-rich layers of your tooth enamel, leaving them more vulnerable until they grow back. It is also important to treat any existing oral conditions before getting your teeth polished, such as gum disease, tooth decay, or exposed dentin or roots.

It reduces sensitivity

Tooth polishing is a routine dental procedure that removes surface stains and helps to keep the gum line clean. It also helps to prevent the accumulation of plaque. It is usually performed as the last step of a professional teeth cleaning session. It can be done on one or all of the teeth. To reduce the risk of sensitivity, the dentist should perform a detailed control examination prior to the procedure and ensure that there is no active gum disease or tooth decay.

During the procedure, a rubber cup (also known as prophy cup) is attached to a hand-piece that has either straight or contra-angled shanks and is used at a slow speed (2500-3000 rpm). A polishing paste, usually containing fluoride, is then poured into the prophy cup. The hygienist will use short intermittent strokes to avoid over-polishing. The abrasive action of the polishing paste removes the accumulated plaque, leaving behind a smooth tooth surface.

The polishing powders available on the market have a variety of different abrasive qualities. The most common are pumice and flour of pumice, which contain silica. Other abrasives include calcium carbonate, which is found as off-white chalk and is used as a whitener for dental porcelain, gold foil and acrylic resins. Zirconium silicate is another abrasive, off-white mineral, which is sometimes used as a polishing agent for its ability to produce fine scratches that leave the teeth looking polished and shiny.