Local Dentist | So You Need A Scale & Polish

What’s involved in a Scale and Polish?

When you book an appointment for a scale and polish at your local dental practice, you’re signing up for the feeling of having the cleanest mouth you’ve ever had. The scale and polish process is designed to be much more effective than simply brushing - your teeth will look cleaner, and your mouth will feel cleaner, too.

Why do I need one?

Throughout the day, plaque builds up on your teeth - and this sticky substance attracts bacteria and reacts with sugar in your food, turning into an acid that chews into the surface of your teeth. Plaque can be removed by regular brushing - but in hard to reach areas, it can gather and build up over time, turning into tartar - a harder substance which is difficult to remove when you’re only armed with a toothbrush. That’s where a dental hygienist comes in.

What happens during a scale and polish treatment?

  1. Your dentist will get rid of any plaque build-up, often using an ultrasound scraper to get rid of the bulk of the tartar before using special hand-held instruments to scrape away anything that’s too stubborn to remove using the ultrasound tool

  2. The next step is a polish, where the hygienist will ensure the surface of your tooth appears really smooth - it’s not just for aesthetics (although the polishing will remove any stains, leaving your teeth looking bright) - this step will also smooth away any small imperfections or rough patches on your teeth, to help prevent plaque from building up so quickly.

Will it hurt?

Well, it shouldn’t hurt, but it might feel a little unusual. People who’ve had scale and polish treatments often report a tickling feeling in their gums, or a scraping sensation. If you’re nervous about the treatment feeling painful, you can always speak to the receptionist at your local dental practice when you book your appointment, and they will let your dental hygienist know - there’s a numbing gel that can be applied to the gums which can help with any uncomfortable sensations.

What are the benefits of getting a scale and polish?

You might be surprised at how many benefits there are. First of all, it’s a great way to eliminate bad breath - a scale and polish gets rid of the bacteria that causes bad smells in your mouth, tackling tartar (often the cause of bad breath) at the source and getting rid of it all at once to leave you with a fresh-smelling mouth.

You’ll also find that looking after your teeth will help save you money in the long run - regularly brushing your teeth and having a scale and polish every six months or so will help you avoid larger problems like fillings, crowns and extractions, which cost a lot more.


Not what you’re looking for? Take a look through our archives to find the dental procedure you’ve been offered, and to learn more about what to expect when you’re in the waiting room.