Tooth Polishing Tools

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Tooth Polishing Tools
Dental polishing tools vary, but all work to enhance the beauty of teeth. (Jetta Productions/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Tooth polishing, or cleaning, is typically performed at a dentist's office by a dental hygienist. The process of polishing teeth involves cleaning residue from the surface of the teeth as well as scraping harmful bacteria from the gum line. The overall purpose of tooth polishing is to support healthy gums as well as prevent plaque from building on the surface of the teeth. Dentists and dental hygienists utilise several tools to polish teeth.

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Dental Scaler

A dental scaler is utilised by a dentist to literally scrape plaque build-up off teeth. The scaler features a round body with a hooklike end, which narrows at the tip to reach into small crevices between teeth and near the gum line. After the teeth have been thoroughly cleaned, the dentist or hygienist will take the scaler and begin gently scraping the teeth. While this is a professional-grade dental polishing tool, it is available for general consumer purchase from dental supply stores.

Rubber Cup Polishing Tool

Once the initial cleaning and scraping of plaque has been performed, the dental hygienist may then use a rubber cup polishing tool. This tool is attached to a powered machine, and when activated the rubber cup spins. After attaching the tool to the power cord, the hygienist then dips the tip of the cup into a prophylaxis paste. This paste is much like standard toothpaste; however, it is grittier to gently polish the surface of the teeth. The hygienist then rotates the rubber cup on each tooth.

Fluoride Tray

Fluoride application is the last step within the polishing process. This solution is comprised of a natural element found throughout nature. Fluoride may even be found within your drinking water, as it is added to help prevent tooth decay, according to Colgate World of Care. When fluoride is introduced on the teeth, it begins to strengthen the enamel of the teeth to help prevent decay and other tooth ailments. At the dentist's office, foam or gel fluoride is often placed into mouth trays. These trays are then placed on the upper and lower teeth. The trays rest on the teeth for a short while, then the patient is instructed to spit the fluoride solution.

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