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Surface Treatment (Scale and Polish)

What is surface treatment?

During surface treatment we remove the hard deposits and stains from your teeth, and smooth and polish all the surfaces so that you can keep them clean more easily.

When the surfaces of your teeth are smooth, plaque does not stick to your teeth so readily.

The hard deposit on your teeth is called
Calculus. It looks a lot like the scale on the inside of a kettle.

Calculus is formed when the calcium which is normally in your saliva is absorbed by plaque which you have left on your teeth. The soft plaque gradually hardens until it is impossible to remove it with a toothbrush.

Calculus forms mainly on the outside of your upper back teeth (molars) and on the inside of your lower front teeth (incisors). It forms particularly in these areas because this is where your salivary glands open into your mouth, and thus where there is the greatest concentration of calcium to harden any plaque.

You may be genetically predisposed to form large amounts of calculus. And so, even if you clean these susceptible areas very well you may still notice a rapid calculus build up at these points.

Why remove calculus?

Calculus, like plaque contains lots of bacteria.

The bacteria in calculus cause bad breath and can attack your gums. Initially this attack causes bleeding and slight swelling of the gums.

As time goes on it can lead to more serious damage of the bone around the tooth - Periodontal Disease or pyorrhoea. 

How are calculus and stains removed?

We use small curved instruments called scalers, to scrape off the scales and stains, and often we may use a special machine called an Ultrasonic.

The ultrasonic has a tip which vibrates at high frequency and "shakes" the scales and stains off the tooth.

It is not usually painful at all, but if you experience any sensitivity, just tell us, and we will put some "numbing" local anaesthetic cream on the area to deaden your gum and tooth.

Smoothing the surface of your teeth.

After the stains and calculus are removed, your teeth are polished with a special polishing paste and a rotating brush or cup.

How long does surface treatment take?

Usually your appointment will take from thirty to forty-five minutes, depending on how much treatment you need.

One visit is generally sufficient, but if you have a lot of calculus it can take two or three vis-its before your teeth are smooth and healthy.

How often should you have surface treatment?

For most people Surface Treatment should be done at six monthly intervals, however if you build up calculus and stain very quickly you should have treatment every three months.