B & F Dental Clinic – Patient Information Series

Dental Scaling and Polishing
(Teeth Cleaning) in Singapore

Why Choose
B & F Dental Clinic for your Scaling and Polishing in Singapore?

  • Meticulous and experienced dentists whom have worked with many satisfied clients.
  • Our clients frequently commend us for being gentle and detailed.
  • We take care of your comfort throughout the teeth cleaning procedure to ensure your satisfaction.
  • Fully equipped with x-ray and gum treatment services available if required.
  • Subsidies for Pioneer Generation, Merdeka Generation and CHAS available.
  • Competitively-priced, value-for money scaling and polishing treatment with excellent hygiene standards.
  • Contact us today at +65 6909 7664 or WhatsApp +65 9383 6121.

Dental Cleaning in Singapore

Most people in Singapore are familiar with teeth Scaling and Polishing as we are fortunate to have very basic student dental care provided by the Health Promotion Board’s School Dental Service from a young age. However, does it mean that everyone in Singapore does regular dental cleaning? It may surprise you that this is not always the case! As dentists, we do sometimes see people from less privileged countries or backgrounds who tell us that they have never had any sort of dental cleaning in their lives.

It is sometimes saddening for us when we see such patients whom would normally require costly and extensive salvage treatment. Of course, we would be happy to do the work for them. However, oftentimes these individuals do not have the financial resources to do such complex treatment because of their same personal circumstances that contributed to them being in their current situation in the first place.

Scaling and Polishing, or basic dental cleaning is very important as a preventive treatment against dental diseases!

What is Teeth Scaling and Polishing?

Scales refer to any bit of thin plate-like piece that peels off from a surface.
Dental Scaling refers to removal of the scale-like calcified plaque pieces from the teeth surfaces. Dental Polishing refers to using a polishing cup or brush and usually some sort of lightly abrasive polishing paste to smoothen and shine the teeth surfaces.

Teeth Scaling and Polishing is the term for the dental cleaning procedure that dentists use to remove stains, tartar deposits and bacterial plaque from your teeth. This plaque / dirt removal can be done by dental hand instruments or dental ultrasonic scalers. We sometimes use both, situation depending.

What is Dental Plaque and Tartar?

Soft deposits of bacteria & particles on the teeth are called PLAQUE.

Hard deposits of bacteria on the teeth are called TARTAR or CALCULUS.

You’ll be surprised at how much invisible plaque there is on your teeth even after you’ve brushed! We sometimes stain the plaque to make it visible for you!

Our saliva naturally forms a protective protein layer over our teeth called the dental pellicle. This happens in mere seconds! However, microorganisms like bacteria in our saliva have developed the ability to stick to this and grow on the tooth surface.

The first few bacteria types that stick to a cleaned tooth surface normally do not cause decay. However, they are good at helping other (bad) bacteria attach to the teeth surfaces as well. Once the layer of bacteria is allowed to grow thick enough (if it is not removed properly by brushing / cleaning), the inner layers become poor in oxygen (anaerobic).

Bacteria that can thrive and grow in these oxygen-poor layers of dental plaque break down sugars in the saliva into acids. After the acidity of the area drops below pH 5.5, the tooth surface loses minerals and starts to break down, resulting in dental decay, (dental caries).

When the plaque stays on the teeth long enough, minerals such as calcium phosphate crystallize within it and cause it to harden. It’s like armor for your teeth germs!

But I Brush Every Day and I Use Mouthwash. Why Do I Need Dental Scaling and Polishing?

Build-ups like dental tartar form on the teeth over time. These can be bad for the teeth and result in worsening gum problems. Our normal brushing methods, whether using manual or electric toothbrushes, usually do not clean 100% of the plaque off before it hardens, and hardened tartar will not brush off easily with a brush. Mouthwashes, while possibly of some benefit, cannot remove existing tartar. Anything that would be acidic enough to dissolve the calcified plaque would most definitely affect your teeth badly as well.

It’s important for the dentist to use their specialized instruments to help you mechanically remove the tartar. This reduces the levels of bad bacteria and allowing your gums to heal back to normal health. It also decreases your overall level of inflammation and inflammatory proteins circulating in your body and blood as well, which can only be better for your health, as your body is not constantly trying to fight a continuous war with the bacteria!

Why Do My Gums Sometimes Bleed When I Brush or Floss?

Bacterial plaque above the gum level can cause decay on teeth.
Bacterial plaque at the gum level or below it cause irritation to the gum tissues.
The body recognises that there are bacterial invaders and our defense cells go to the area to fight off bacteria.

The gums become inflamed as a result of our immune response. With inflammation, there is increased blood supply to the area and it gets red and prone to bleeding, especially with poking or pressure. Some people term it as “heatiness” when their gums are inflamed, as this concept is deeply entrenched in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Please note that this level of inflammation can change from time to time depending on your health and general condition, but it never really goes away without proper treatment of the cause.

Say goodbye to gum problems!

After a detailed cleaning, you can expect your inflamed and angry gums to slowly turn light pink and healthy with the right dental maintenance over the next week or two.

I'm Ready, What Are You Going To Do To My Teeth?

At B & F Dental, our dentist will normally first do a general check for you before applying a vibrating instrument called a piezoelectric scaler to your teeth. The German-made instrument we use vibrates at ultrasonic frequencies, creating micro-explosions (the “cavitation effect”) to gently but firmly break the tartar on your teeth into small pieces that are washed away. This does not cause damage to normal healthy teeth surfaces.

You will hear a buzzing sound as the instrument vibrates and there will be a gentle water flow cooling and washing the teeth. The water flow will be vacuumed out from your mouth via a salivary ejector straw.

The instrument is worked gently under the gums to carefully remove hidden plaque. You can always let our dentist know if you find it too sensitive and we will make the adjustment for you. Inflamed and infected gums may bleed during the procedure, which is perfectly normal.

We then move on to Polishing, where our dentist will use a turning rubber cup filled with fine polishing paste to gently remove stains without damaging the tooth enamel, leaving your teeth with a healthy shine. We normally use a bubblegum or strawberry-flavored paste which is pleasing to most patients.

After the teeth cleaning procedure is completed, in some cases you may be prescribed an antiseptic mouthwash for gum inflammation.

We would normally offer you the Fluoride Gel Treatment at this point to immerse your freshly-cleaned teeth in high-concentration fluoride to help prevent future decay. If required, our dentists will advise you on how you can modify your brushing or flossing habits to improve your gum health.

How Often Do I Need To Do Scaling and Polishing?

This depends on your oral hygiene and general dental health condition. At B & F Dental, we usually recommend a six-monthly dental checkup and cleaning.

This may be inappropriate for people who are prone to decay or have ongoing or controlled gum disease. In such cases, we may need to see them at shorter intervals such as 3 – 4 months to ensure that their condition does not get worse.

We are happy to book you an appointment date and remind you before your next appointment as we understand that most people are busy and tend to forget their dental appointments! Leave it to us to remember for you 🙂

What Happens If I Don't Do My Regular Cleaning?

Well, you should understand that the regular teeth cleaning appointment is also a checkup. It is a good time for us to check your overall dental condition, spot small problems that may have previously gone unnoticed and help you touch-up all the areas that you have missed when brushing.

Without regular check-up and teeth cleaning appointments, it is more likely that you will have decay going unnoticed and getting worse. When was the last time you looked into your mouth to check every single tooth for problems? Well, that’s the service we do for you!

Minor gum inflammation (gingivitis) will get worse with time if left untreated. As the inflammation and irritation progresses, you will begin to lose bone support around affected teeth. The teeth may look longer over time and get more shaky. This is called periodontitis, which is a more severe and irreversible form of gum disease.

In severe cases, the shaky teeth will need to be extracted or may even drop out on their own!

Will Scaling and Polishing Spoil My Teeth Or Make the Gaps Bigger? Is It Safe?

You aren’t the first to ask that! We occasionally get these questions from the patients who rarely or have never done dental cleaning before as they are often a little worried and afraid.

No, Scaling and Polishing Does Not Spoil Your Pearlie Whites. As dentists, we can easily tell the difference between someone who goes for regular dental maintenance and someone who has never done dental cleaning before.

Elderly patients who have had regular cleaning usually have mild wear and tear, but they often keep their healthy sets of teeth even in their eighties and nineties!
Patients who do not do regular cleaning often have many shaky teeth, or gum problems and have lost a few teeth.

Dentists have been scaling teeth for decades with an excellent track record for this procedure. We know that you can do scaling for the same tooth for years without seeing much difference. However, it only takes months for decay bacteria in plaque to dissolve a hole in your teeth with the acids they produce!

If you get periodontitis, or gum problems and you have to have the shaky tooth extracted, that’s a 100% loss of tooth immediately! More severe gum problems also cause you to lose bone between your teeth, making the gaps look bigger.

Which is more dangerous to your teeth? Scaling? Decay? Gum Problems?

Will Scaling and Polishing Cure Bad Breath (Halitosis)?

Trivia: People with periodontal disease often have recognizable or sour-smelling bad breath!

As dentists, we can sometimes smell when someone has periodontal disease before we have even seen their mouth or teeth! In such cases, Scaling and Polishing can definitely help reduce bad breath.

This may not be applicable if the source of the bad breath is from gastric reflux, tonsil stones, food being trapped in a big decay or a badly infected tooth. At B & F Dental, we are happy to do a thorough check for you to eliminate all potential dental sources of bad breath.

I'm Seeing My Dentist For Braces, Can I Skip The Scaling and Polishing Till I'm Done?

Not many people know this, but regular Scaling and Polishing is twice as important when you’re having braces! The reason is because dental braces and other mouth appliances tend to trap food around the teeth, encouraging bacterial growth.

Poor dental hygiene during braces treatment often results in starting decay around the orthodontic brackets. The teeth look partly patchy or brown on the surface after the braces are removed. That’s not desirable for most people as the braces are meant to make you look better, not worse!

For orthodontic patients who are struggling to maintain their oral hygiene during braces treatment, we would even recommend that you consider seeing us every three months or quarterly to ensure that the dental plaque doesn’t get too thick!

Is It Okay To Come For Cleaning If I'm Sick?

For your own safety and to protect our staff and other patients, we would recommend that you rest at home if you’re unwell. Just drop us a call or WhatsApp us in advance and we would be happy to reschedule your appointment for a week or two later. If you are unsure, you can always check with our staff regarding your appointment.

Live your life happily and healthily without worrying about dental problems or bad breath.
B & F Dental can help you achieve your goals!