Scaling and Polishing

Scaling and Polishing


Dental scaling and polishing is the removal of plaque and tartar deposits built up on the teeth and the polishing of the smooth surfaces of the teeth. This procedure is conducted during routine cleaning (prophylaxis) at a visit to the dentist.

What is it?

Dental scaling and polishing are procedures that take place during a regular visit to the dentist for prophylaxis. Scaling is a non-surgical procedure of removing dental plaque and calculus on the teeth. A slow speed hand tool polishes teeth to make them shiny and smooth. These procedures are useful for anyone but particularly useful to those with periodontal disease.

What should I do to prepare?

There are no special preparations required for this procedure. It is recommended to practice and maintain healthy oral hygiene habits.

What happens during the process?

During dental scaling and polishing, there are a few different instruments used for various purposes. Often, ultrasonic devices produce ticklish vibrations that will be used first to loosen large tartar deposits.Then, hand instruments are used to remove smaller tartar deposits by scraping with moderate pressure. Finally, polishing is done at a slow pace with a soft, motorized tool and a special toothpaste.

What are the risks and potential complications?

Despite the importance of scaling and polishing for the health of one’s teeth, there are several known risks or effects to be aware of from this procedure. These risks include having gum recession, swollen gums, tooth sensitivity, root cavity, root bleeding, tender gums, and eating restrictions. These effects are due to the need for removal of deposits on the teeth, which may require a lot of scraping.  The procedure itself does not pose much risk and is beneficial to have performed to prevent worse effects from occurring.


All GlobeHealer Site content, including graphics, images, logos, and text, among other materials on the site are for educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, and you should always contact your physician or qualified health provider for information regarding your health. Information on this site regarding the overview, diagnosis, and treatment of any kind should be looked at, in addition to the advice and information of your health care professional. Do not disregard medical advice or delay seeking treatment or medical advice due to information found on the GlobeHealer site.

If there is even the possibility that you may have a medical emergency, seek treatment, call your doctor, or call your local emergency telephone number immediately. GlobeHealer does not endorse being the first line of communication in case of emergency and does not endorse any specific test, physician, facility, product, procedure, opinion, or other information that is or may be mentioned on this site or affiliated entities. Reliance of any and all information provided by GlobeHealer, its employees, affiliations, others appearing on the Site under the invitation of GlobeHealer, or visitors of the site is solely at your own risk and is not the responsibility of GlobeHealer.