s Tooth Polishing Essential for a Gleaming Smile?

A dental hygienist performing tooth polishing procedure for a patient.

In the bustling community of Decatur, GA, at Metro Decatur Dental Group PC, we take immense pride in offering our patients top-notch dental care that keeps their smiles shining brightly. As an integral part of dental checkups, tooth polishing has a fascinating history, dating back to the 1700s when Pierre Fauchard, hailed as the father of modern dentistry, first advocated for its use. However, recent studies have introduced intriguing insights into the practice of tooth polishing, leading dental professionals to reevaluate its significance.

The Dental Cleaning Process: Plaque and Tartar Removal for Optimal Oral Health

Before we delve into the details of tooth polishing, let’s briefly revisit what happens during a dental cleaning appointment. The primary objective of a dental cleaning is to eliminate plaque and tartar buildup on the teeth. If left untreated, these bacterial deposits can pave the way for cavities and gum disease, posing a threat to oral health. To tackle stubborn tartar, dental hygienists employ ultrasonic tools, utilizing fine vibrations to break up the buildup and a water flush to wash it away. Subsequently, any smaller spots of buildup are carefully removed using hand tools, ensuring the tooth surface is smoothed out.

The Role of Tooth Polishing: From Smoothing to Surface Stain Removal

Once your teeth have undergone a thorough cleansing, the spotlight turns to tooth polishing. Traditionally, a tiny rubber cup attached to a hand-held wand was employed for polishing, accompanied by prophy paste with a gritty texture, akin to toothpaste, often flavored similarly. The prophy paste is applied to the teeth, and as the rubber cup spins, it meticulously polishes the enamel, effectively removing surface stains. It is worth noting that in the past, tooth polishing was believed to make it harder for bacteria-laden substances to adhere to teeth, thereby aiding in preventing gum disease and tooth decay. However, emerging research indicates that the crucial step in averting these issues lies in the removal of plaque and tartar through ultrasonic scaling, complemented by your daily oral hygiene routine. Although tooth polishing does contribute to smoother teeth, it has shown limited evidence of significantly preventing gum disease or tooth decay. On the contrary, certain studies suggest that it may temporarily weaken tooth enamel, rendering teeth slightly more vulnerable until the outer enamel layer regenerates.


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