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Teeth Cleaning & Polishing

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Tooth polishing is a dental procedure that leaves your tooth enamel glossy and smooth. At many dental offices, it’s a standard part of a routine cleaning appointment.
Tooth polishing doesn’t just have a cosmetic benefit for your teeth. This procedure, when paired with dental scaling, can freshen your breath and help you avoid tooth decay.

We spoke to a dentist to find out:

  • if tooth polishing is important for oral health
  • how often you should have your teeth polished
  • how much this procedure costs
  • whether or not you should try to polish your own teeth at home

What is tooth polishing?

“Tooth polishing is something we do at every visit in our office,” says Dr. Zachary Linhart, of Linhart Dentistry in Manhattan. It’s one of the final steps of a tooth cleaning appointment at the dentist.

  • Step 1: Your teeth are inspected for decay and weak spots in the enamel.
  • Step 2: Plaque and tartar are scraped from the surface of your teeth in a process called scaling.
  • Step 3: Your teeth are then buffed and polished to remove staining before being flossed and topped with a protective coat of fluoride.

What are the benefits of tooth polishing?

The benefits of tooth polishing are somewhat debated within dentistry. A 2018 clinical review of multiple studies concluded that regular tooth polishing alone doesn’t prevent gum disease.
That same review did note that those who had their teeth polished and scaled had significantly less plaque buildup on their teeth.
Having less plaque may preserve your tooth enamel, which is impossible to completely restore once it’s eroded or decayed. Tooth polishing also removes bacteriaTrusted Source from the surface of your teeth.