UPTOWN/GALLERIA: 346-980-4770 | MIDTOWN: 281-397-3832
UPTOWN/GALLERIA: 346-980-4770
MIDTOWN: 281-397-3832

Dental Cleaning & Adult Checkup

Hand Scaling and Polishing Procedure

It can be hard to thoroughly clean your teeth especially in areas in between and the posterior surfaces. It becomes even harder to maintain optimal oral hygiene when you have imperfectly shaped, misaligned or crowded teeth.

Dental cleaning and polishing of teeth

It can be hard to thoroughly clean your teeth especially in areas in between and the posterior surfaces. It becomes even harder to maintain optimal oral hygiene when you have imperfectly shaped, misaligned or crowded teeth. When areas in between the teeth are not cleaned properly, residual food debris form plaque which lead to tartar build up around these teeth and gum surfaces. Smoking, genetics, and lack of ideal oral hygiene lead to higher susceptibility to tartar build up.

Plaque can be removed through brushing and flossing but sometimes plaque can be stubborn or hard to reach. When plaque is not removed properly, it calcifies and becomes tartar or calculus, which then becomes harder to remove because tartar adheres onto the enamel and root surfaces.

Scaling and root planing is the proper treatment for periodontitis or gum disease because it goes subgingivally to remove plaque and tartar in these hard to reach areas. This kind of treatment goes beyond regular cleaning because not only does it remove plaque and tartar above the gums but also cleans underneath the gums where most bacteria reside.

What is hand scaling and polishing? It is the removal of plaque and tartar build up as well as bacterial biofilm on the teeth and root surfaces using a hand scaler instrument. While hand scaling deals with the effective removal of plaque, stains, tartar that have adhered onto teeth surfaces, polishing helps in making teeth smooth and shiny and removes any residual staining not removed by scaling.

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Why do we need a dental cleaning and polishing of teeth?

Even if you brush and floss perfectly and consistently, there are still some food debris that will be left on teeth surfaces especially in hard to reach areas. These residual food substances will turn into plaque and later harden and become tartar or calculus. These yellowish plaque or tartar build up should not be mistaken as a part of your teeth and should be removed. If left uncleaned, these areas create perfect conditions for bacteria to grow and multiply which lead to inflammation and bone loss. Polishing is done after scaling and root planing to remove any residual staining and to give your enamel its polished and shiny appearance back.

Dental cleanings can also prevent or alleviate bad breath. Most people assume that bad breath is caused by the kind of food we eat. On the contrary, it is not the food that causes bad breath but rather the build up of bacteria, tartar and plaque around our teeth and gums that lead to these unpleasant odors. Therefore if you are concerned with ongoing bad breath or halitosis, you may want to consult your local dentist to have a thorough cleaning and scaling to eliminate your gingival pockets of any bacterial build up. Tongue scraping is also a great way to reduce bad breath because the hairy nature of the tongue allows for food debris and bacteria to build up around these areas.

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Who is more susceptible to a dental cleaning and polishing of teeth?

Some of the things that increase the rate of tartar accumulation are tobacco use, inadequate oral hygiene and genetic predisposition. Those with aforementioned risk factors would especially find it beneficial to maintain regular dental visits to maintain optimum periodontal health because they have higher susceptibility to periodontitis. Scaling and root planing is crucial in removing bacteria and subgingival tartar to prevent bone loss and periodontitis.

It is important to add that even though saliva is crucial for preventing tooth decay and maintaining an optimal oral environment to jumpstart the digestive process, areas near salivary ducts are more prone to developing tartar. Therefore it is important to drink enough water to balance salivary viscosity and to consistently floss and brush especially in these prone areas.


How does a dental cleaning and polishing of teeth work?

Scaling and root planing is a form of deep cleaning that is either performed by a dentist or a hygienist and is the initial step to creating a healthy periodontium. An ultrasonic scaler, or a cavitron, is first used to break down the larger pieces of tartar that has adhered onto your teeth and root surfaces. After a gross debridement and removal of large chunks of supra- and subgingival calculus, a hand scaler is used for a more thorough and detailed scraping and removal of tartar build up in hard to reach areas such as areas in between the teeth and the root surfaces underneath the gums.

The next step is polishing! Polishing is done using a rotating brush and a fluoride-infused toothpaste or pumice and allows for a shiny and polished finish. Fluoride aids in strengthening and protecting your enamel against tooth decay so it is an ideal adjunct at the end of your treatment!

Is the procedure painful? This may be one of the questions lingering in your thoughts. Although some people have reported that the procedure creates a sense of discomfort, most feel no pain during a scaling and root planing. The procedure usually requires anesthesia to ensure that your dentist or hygienist can thoroughly clean under your gums with no pain or discomfort. The type of anesthesia required typically depends on the severity of the build up and the periodontal status of the patient. Topical anesthetics massaged on the gums are commonly used with patients with a lesser degree of subgingival tartar and those with mild to moderate levels of bone loss. Local anesthesia may be required for those with severe tartar build up and bone loss. Irregardless, the procedure itself is very minimally invasive yet crucially important in maintaining a healthy periodontium.


What are the symptoms of someone who needs a dental cleaning and polishing?

If your teeth have changed in color, you should visit your dentist and he will determine whether hand scaling and polishing are the right procedures. There are symptoms that will help to determine whether hand scaling and polishing is what you need such as;

  • Teeth discoloration
  • Plaque: pale-yellow substances, However, sometimes it can be colorless.
  • Tartar or calculus: a yellow or brown substance that forms above and below the gum line.
Michelle Campbell
Michelle Campbell
19:53 20 Jun 18
Excellent service. Great first impression! Best cleaning I've had in several years, my mouth feels amazing. They even took the time to show me how to brush more effectively. My teeth are back to being pearly white. They were very knowledgeable in regards to my insurance and I've had no issues. The service there is impeccable!
Nonna Beetge
Nonna Beetge
14:21 24 Apr 18
The staff is wonderful, very friendly and informative. I love how they not only take X-rays, but also photos of all your teeth and put them on the big screen. They spent as much time as I needed to go over each area and explain specifics of each tooth. I definitely have a greater understanding of what is going on in there and what I need to do. I also love their space, it has a calming vibe with all kinds of artwork on display. You almost feel like you’re not at the dentist! Thank you all so much, I look forward to seeing you all again! (Said no one to their dentist 😉 )
Allie Hackett
Allie Hackett
18:47 19 Jun 18
I am not the biggest fan of the dentist, however this was the BEST dentist experience I have ever had! Everyone was so kind and I got everything I needed done in one visit! They provided super helpful insight about what was going on with my teeth and took care of everything I needed quickly. I will absolutely be returning! 🙂
Andrew Nguyen
Andrew Nguyen
14:17 10 May 18
Beautiful location and office. Very friendly and welcoming staff! I had a great time conversing with them about movies and music. Dr. Nguyen and his staff were very knowledgeable and stressed the importance of making sure the patient knew what their game plan was. The office is very high tech as well so it was super cool to know that I was getting the latest tech being use on me.
Andrea Andrea
Andrea Andrea
17:15 20 May 18
Love the location, the dentist AND the staff. Everyone there is awesome. It's rare that I leave a dentist office feeling just as good as when I arrive. I was sad I didn't get to see Snickers, but all in all I had a great experience my first time here. Glad to finally have a new "home" dentist since moving to Texas.
Joshua Parra
Joshua Parra
02:17 14 Sep 18
From start to finish great experience. Impeccably clean office, high tech tools, & friendly staff. Went to get my top teeth contoured/shaped. They did a Hollywood star job! I now, have a flawless smile. I even went back the next day for a touch-up on one tooth & they took care of it, graciously. If you want quality cosmetic dentistry inside the loop; look no further. These folks are the best in class.
Bianca Anderson
Bianca Anderson
17:05 05 Sep 18
Very friendly staff. The hygienist's were so knowledgeable and really took the time to teach you about your teeth, they gave my husband and I "homework" to improve our oral health. Love it! Angela was great, great sense of humor (made me laugh a lot) and very professional. Awesome job Nicole, very friendly and took the time to answer all the questions we had (love she was recommending eateries for hubby to take me :). Julia was great at the front counter very lively and knowledgeable as well. They all really took the time and customized everything for us. Able to get free electric toothbrushes but didn't have any in stock.
Ji H Oh
Ji H Oh
15:19 22 Sep 18
I am usually scared of going to the dentist for my annual cleaning but I was completely blown away by the amazing customer service from the staff. Julia was extremely helpful and explained my dental coverage and out of pocket costs. Angela did an exceptional job explaining to me about the importance of dental hygiene and actually taught me how to floss properly. The office was extremely clean and upscale. Dr. Bridget was very sweet and great bedside manners. She explained everything about the treatment plan in a very thorough and concise manner. I was extremely impressed by everyone on the office and I cant wait to come back for my next appointment.
Death Morgulis
Death Morgulis
16:23 12 Sep 18
Great place for all your dental needs. Very inviting and friendly staff. They are very knowledgeable and passionate about the work they do. I've been looking for a good dentist for awhile while neglecting my oral health, but now I think I've found my place. 10/10 would come back for a follow-up appointment.
Trisha Hinojosa
Trisha Hinojosa
18:30 07 Oct 18
Very friendly staff who put up with my inane sense of humor. The entire team team spoke with me 1:1, including:Dental assistants, hygienist, dentist, and insurance admin (explained everything to me in detail including how my insurance works).They explained my x-rays to me, the effects of flossing correctly / incorrectly. I feel like they gave me the education I didn't get as a child on how to care for my mouth, and why it's important. I was doing good stuff for my oral health-- just not correctly or with a positive attitude.GREAT aftercare package.
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Our patients love being treated at our locations, with consistent 5-star ratings across the board.
See what they have to say about our dentists and dental team.


Very knowledgeable and informative, explaining all your x-ray and imagery and in creating a course of treatment. The staff is friendly and definitely concerned with their patients. Comfortable environment.

I am not the biggest fan of the dentist, however this was the BEST dentist experience I have ever had! Everyone was so kind and I got everything I needed done in one visit!

Excellent service. Great first impression! Best cleaning I've had in several years, my mouth feels amazing. They even took the time to show me how to brush more effectively. My teeth are back to being pearly white.

They were very prompt and professional. I felt very comfortable in the visit. They have good exam specials without any hidden fees. I have found me a permanent dentist office. Thanks URBN staff.

URBN Dental provided great service and they were all so nice. They did a great job communicating with me and i would recommend to all.

I had a root canal and a crown done here, the entire process took about an hour. Will be back in 2 weeks for my final crown! Great doctor, great staff.

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