Welcome to our comprehensive guide about scaling and polishing. This guide will explore the benefits of scale and polish, how often it should be done, and what to expect during the procedure.

We will also discuss maintaining good oral health through proper brushing and flossing techniques.

What are Scale and Polish?

Scale and polish is a dental procedure involving teeth cleaning to remove plaque or tartar buildup. Plaque is a sticky film that covers teeth and contains bacteria that can cause tooth decay and gum disease. Tartar is a hardened plaque that cannot be removed by brushing alone. The purpose of scale and polish is to prevent gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath by maintaining good oral hygiene.

Regular scaling and polishing can help to remove any buildup of plaque and tartar, preventing dental problems and ensuring healthy teeth and gums. This procedure is especially important for people with a history of gum disease or those susceptible to developing it. Other benefits include fresher breath, a brighter smile, and improved health.

To summarise, scale and polish is a necessary dental procedure that helps to maintain good oral health. Its benefits extend beyond just having healthy teeth and gums. Regular appointments should be part of everyone’s oral hygiene routine to prevent serious dental problems.

How Often Should Scale and Polish Be Done?

The frequency of scale and polish appointments vary depending on several factors. These factors include age, oral hygiene habits, health conditions, and lifestyle habits such as smoking.

Dentists recommend that adults schedule an appointment every six months to maintain good oral health. People with gum disease and other dental problems may need to schedule more frequent appointments. Children and teenagers may also need more frequent appointments as their teeth develop. It’s recommended that children have their first appointment when they’re around three years old.

Regular appointments are essential for maintaining good oral health and preventing serious dental problems in the future. Dentists may recommend a personalised schedule based on their patient’s oral health. How often someone should get a scale and polish procedure done depends on their individual needs.

What Happens During a Scale and Polish Procedure?

A scale and polish procedure typically involves two stages; scaling and polishing.

Scaling removes any plaque or tartar buildup on the teeth using specialised tools such as a scraper or an ultrasonic scaler. The dentist or dental hygienist will use these tools to clean the teeth carefully, paying special attention to areas with more buildup.

After scaling, the teeth are polished using a rotating brush with a special toothpaste that helps to remove any remaining stains or plaque. The toothpaste used during polishing is often gritty, giving the teeth a smooth, polished finish. The types of tools used for these procedures can vary depending on the dentist or dental hygienist’s preference. However, some common tools include a scaler, a curette, and an ultrasonic scaler. These tools work together to remove any buildup on the teeth, ensuring they are clean and healthy.

Regular scale and polish appointments are essential for maintaining good oral health.

Is Scale and Polish a Painful Procedure?

While everyone’s pain tolerance differs, scale and polish procedures are generally not painful. However, some people may experience discomfort during the procedure due to sensitive teeth or gums. If this is the case for you, your dentist or dental hygienist may use a local anaesthetic to numb the area before beginning the procedure.

After the procedure, it is normal to experience some sensitivity and slight discomfort. This is because the teeth have been thoroughly cleaned, and the gums may be slightly inflamed. Over-the-counter pain medication can be taken to manage any discomfort. To minimise discomfort during and after the procedure, it is important to maintain good oral hygiene habits, such as brushing and flossing regularly. Avoiding hot or cold drinks and food for a few hours after the procedure is also recommended.

To sum up, scale and polish procedures are generally not painful, but some people may experience discomfort. Pain management techniques, such as local anaesthesia, can be used to minimise any discomfort during the procedure. Following proper oral hygiene habits and avoiding hot or cold drinks and food after the procedure can help to minimise any discomfort post-procedure.

How to Maintain Good Oral Health Between Scale and Polish Visits?

Maintaining good oral hygiene between scale and polish visits is essential to prevent dental problems such as tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath.

  • Proper brushing techniques involve using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to brush teeth twice daily for two minutes each time. Brushing should be done in circular motions, ensuring that all surfaces of the teeth are cleaned.
  • Flossing is also important as it helps remove any plaque or food particles between the teeth that brushing alone cannot. A string of waxed floss or interdental brush should be used to floss at least once daily.
  • Mouthwash can also be used to help maintain good oral hygiene. Mouthwashes containing fluoride can help to strengthen teeth, while antiseptic mouthwashes can help to kill bacteria in the mouth.

In conclusion, maintaining good oral hygiene between visits involves proper brushing techniques, regular flossing, and mouthwash. Following these habits can ensure healthy teeth and gums and prevent serious dental problems.

Can Scale and Polish Fix All Dental Problems?

While scale and polish is an important dental procedure, it has limitations. This procedure cannot fix all dental problems, especially those more severe or complex.

Scale and polish are designed to remove plaque and tartar buildup on the teeth, prevent gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath, and maintain good oral hygiene. However, it cannot repair the damage that has already occurred to the teeth. Additional treatment may be needed if a patient has advanced gum disease, cavities, or other serious dental issues. Your dentist will recommend the best course of action for your individual needs. This may involve treatments such as fillings, root canals, or extractions.

While scale and polish is an effective dental procedure, it does have its limitations. For more severe or complex dental problems, additional treatment may be necessary. If you have concerns about your oral health, consult your dentist to determine the appropriate course of action.

Who Can Perform Scale and Polish?

Both dentists and dental hygienists can perform scale and polish procedures. However, there are some differences in their training and qualifications.

Dentists undergo extensive training in all areas of dentistry, including performing procedures such as scale and polish. They are qualified to diagnose and treat dental problems and can perform more complex procedures such as fillings, root canals, and extractions. Dentists must complete a five-year degree in dentistry and be registered with the General Dental Council.

To become a dental hygienist, individuals must complete a degree or diploma in dental hygiene and be registered with the General Dental Council. Dental hygienists also undergo training in scale and polish procedures and are qualified to clean teeth and gums. They work alongside dentists to maintain good oral hygiene and prevent dental problems.

In summary, dentists and dental hygienists are qualified to perform scale and polish procedures. However, dentists have a broader scope of practice and can perform more complex procedures. Dental hygienists focus on maintaining good oral hygiene and preventing dental problems.

How Much Do Scale and Polish Cost?

The cost of a scale and polish procedure can vary based on multiple factors. These include geographical location, the dentist’s qualifications and experience, and the severity of plaque and tartar buildup.

The average cost of a scale and polish procedure in the UK is around £50 to £100. This cost may be covered by dental insurance, so it’s important to check with your provider before scheduling an appointment. Some dentists offer payment plans or financing options for those without dental insurance to make the procedure more affordable. It’s important to note that neglecting oral health can lead to more significant and costly dental issues in the future.

By scheduling regular scale and polish appointments, individuals can prevent serious dental problems and reduce long-term costs.


Scale and polish are essential to maintaining good oral health, but they are not substitutes for brushing and flossing techniques. Following the tips outlined in this guide ensures your smile stays healthy and bright between visits.

If you have any questions about scale and polish or would like to schedule an appointment, please do not hesitate to contact us.