top of page

What Do Dentists Use to Polish Teeth? Dentist Answers

Achieving a sparkling smile often involves a trip to the dentist's office, and a key part of that experience is teeth polishing. This process removes surface stains and plaque buildup, leaving your teeth feeling smooth and looking brighter. But what exactly do dentists use to polish teeth, and how does it differ from your at-home routine?

What Do Dentists Use to Polish Teeth

Shining Smiles: A Look at what do dentists use to polish teeth

The Power of Professional Polishing:

Professional teeth polishing goes beyond the cosmetic benefits. Here's why it's an essential part of your dental cleaning:

  • Removes Stains: Polishing removes stubborn surface stains caused by coffee, tea, wine, and other foods and beverages that can't be tackled with regular brushing.

  • Reduces Plaque Buildup: Even with thorough brushing, some plaque can remain. Polishing helps remove this residual plaque, preventing its buildup and potential for gum disease.

  • Smooths Tooth Surfaces: Polishing creates a smoother tooth surface, making it more difficult for plaque and bacteria to adhere in the future, promoting better oral hygiene.

  • Freshens Breath: By removing food particles and bacteria that contribute to bad breath, polishing leaves your mouth feeling fresh and clean.


The Arsenal of Polishing Tools:

Dentists have a dedicated set of instruments specifically designed for professional teeth polishing:

  • Prophy Paste: This is the polishing agent, sometimes referred to as prophylaxis paste. It's a gritty paste containing mild abrasives, usually formulated with ingredients like calcium carbonate, aluminum oxide, or silica. The dentist chooses the appropriate grit level based on the amount of stain removal needed.

  • Rubber Prophy Cup: This small, soft rubber cup fits onto a handpiece that rotates at a controlled speed. The dentist dips the cup into the prophy paste and gently polishes each tooth surface.

  • Microbrushes: For more precise polishing, especially in areas between teeth or around crowns, dentists might utilize small disposable brushes with prophy paste.

  • Air Polishing System (Optional): In some cases, dentists might use an air polishing system. This device utilizes a pressurized stream of air, water, and a fine abrasive powder to clean and polish teeth. It's particularly effective for reaching areas between teeth and removing stubborn stains.


The Difference from At-Home Polishing:

While you might use toothpaste containing mild abrasives for at-home polishing, there are key differences:

  • Abrasive Strength: Professional prophy pastes contain stronger abrasives compared to most over-the-counter toothpastes. This allows dentists to remove tougher stains more effectively without damaging tooth enamel.

  • Professional Expertise: Dentists have the training and experience to ensure proper polishing techniques, reaching all tooth surfaces effectively while avoiding gum irritation.

  • Focus on Oral Health: Professional polishing is part of a comprehensive dental cleaning, addressing plaque buildup and contributing to overall oral health.


Maintaining a Bright Smile Between Visits:

While professional polishing is essential, maintaining good oral hygiene habits at home is crucial for a long-lasting bright smile:

  • Brushing Twice Daily: Brush your teeth thoroughly for two minutes twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste.

  • Flossing Daily: Flossing removes plaque and food particles from between your teeth, areas that polishing might not reach.

  • Limit Sugary Drinks and Foods: Reducing your intake of sugary drinks and foods helps minimize plaque buildup and potential staining.

  • Regular Dental Checkups: Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings, typically every six months, for professional cleaning and polishing.


Professional teeth polishing, performed with specialized tools and expertise, goes beyond aesthetics. It plays a vital role in maintaining good oral health by removing stubborn stains, reducing plaque buildup, and promoting a healthy smile. By combining professional cleanings with good oral hygiene practices at home, you can achieve and maintain a healthy, shiny smile.

9 views0 comments
bottom of page