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Tooth polishing is the simplest method for removing stains from the teeth. In this completely painless procedure, the dentist or hygienist applies a paste to the surface of the teeth with a rotating dental instrument.
Everyone’s teeth can benefit from regular polishing sessions at the dentist. Regardless of how thoroughly teeth are cleaned every day they can still become stained by regular exposure to certain foods and beverages like red wine, coffee, and curry. (Find out more about teeth staining). For people who smoke, a professional polishing session can help reduce the discoloring caused by nicotine and the chemicals in cigarette smoke.
Professional teeth polishing uses specially designed abrasive pastes to remove all but the most stubborn of external tooth stains to make the teeth cleaner and brighter. Teeth will eventually become stained again with time, but regular polishing sessions will keep the staining under control and prevent external stains from becoming ingrained in the matrix of the tooth structure where they can only be removed by professional bleaching procedures.
Polishing is usually carried out at the end of a course of treatment or after scaling has been done during regular teeth cleaning appointments. The dentist or hygienist will use a dental handpiece fitted with a circular cup or brush to polish each tooth individually in the same way you might use an Oral-B electric toothbrush. The abrasive polishing paste is applied to the polishing head of the hand unit and then brought into contact with the teeth to give a greater cleaning effect than could ever be done with a regular consumer toothbrush.
Tooth Polishing Objective
The objective of teeth polishing is to:
- Remove the staining and discoloration caused by poor oral hygiene and highly pigmented foods and beverages.
- Remove surface stains without damaging the tooth surface. Different polishing pastes contain different grades of abrasives, including – fine, medium, course, and extra-course. The dentist or hygienist will select the appropriate grade to ensure maximum effectiveness without causing excessive damage to the tooth enamel.
- Reduce defects on the tooth surface.
- Increase resistance to further tooth staining.
- Remove plaque and film from tooth surface.
- Achieve the final results that patients enjoy; i.e. cleaner, smoother and brighter teeth.
Teeth Polishing Procedure
- Before the procedure begins the dentist or hygienist will ensure that they, their nurse and their patient are all wearing the relevant protective clothes, face, and eyewear.
- The polishing head will be locked into the dental handpiece and then dipped into the polishing paste.
- The dentist or hygienist may give the patient the option of choosing the flavor of polish used during the procedure. The polishing paste is available in many different flavors like mint, strawberry, orange, vanilla, and cherry to help make the process as pleasant as possible.
- The polishing head will be placed in contact with the teeth surface and worked over each tooth paying special attention to the contact point where stains can accumulate. The polishing head rotates at several thousand revolutions per minute, buffering away stains, plaque, and defects from the teeth surface.
- The process should not be painful or unpleasant at any point and every tooth will be thoroughly cleaned without any discomfort.
- A fresh amount of paste will be applied to the cleaning head for each separate tooth.
- After the procedure is complete the patient will be asked to rinse out their mouth to flush away any residual polish paste from their mouth.
Is Tooth Polishing Right For You?
Polishing can eliminate many surface stains to make the teeth appear cleaner and brighter; however, excessive staining or intrinsic staining may require more aggressive treatment like micro-abrasion or professional bleaching treatment.
Polishing is a good option if you:
- Want a quick and painless method of making your teeth cleaner and brighter.
- Have only minor teeth staining.
- Want a natural looking smile rather than a very bright white look.
- Want to invest a minimum amount of money and time.