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The Ins and Outs of Polishing:  Why, Why Not, and With What

In September, I attended a continuing education class at Minnesota State University, Mankato.  Speaker Doreen Johnson, RDH, MA Ed., is a clinical educator for Dentsply and she presented valuable information about the ongoing debate on Coronal Polishing.  Coronal Polishing is the “brushing” of the crowns of the teeth during a dental appointment with a dental toothpaste to remove stain and soft plaque debris.  Polishing agents such as fine, medium and course prophylaxis paste applied with a rubber cup and hand piece may or may not be recommended on certain dental materials or areas of the teeth where exposed root surface is present.  Every tooth may not need to be polished every time during a dental cleaning appointment; this is called “selective” polishing.  If there is a tooth that has been sensitive or a tooth that is only partially erupted, it may not need to be polished.  An Air Polisher can be used to remove stain and debris off surfaces of teeth in hard to reach places and grooves.  This is done with a Prophy Jet.  A Prophy Jet is a powder slurry of warm water and sodium bicarbonate delivered to the tooth in a spray.  The Air Polisher is not messy and is very comfortable for patients, but it may not be recommended for every patient.

If you have any questions about how your teeth are polished, ask your dental care professional at your next dental visit.

– from Tricia H. (Dental Hygienist)
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