Scaling & Polishing

Battle unseen plaque and maintain a clean set of teeth.

Scaling & Polishing

Getting your teeth checked and cleaned by a dentist is an important part of your oral hygiene routine. Besides keeping your gums and teeth healthy, your dentist can also detect problems such as gum disease or cavities, and rectify them before they worsen.

A cleaning routine usually involves two procedures: scaling and polishing.


As we eat and drink, food and bacteria may accumulate in our teeth, which eventually becomes dental plaque. Over time, the dental plaque may calcify and harden to form tartar. While regular brushing and flossing may remove some plaque, they cannot remove tartar. It will have to be removed by a dentist via a procedure called scaling.

Scaling involves the use of a specialised instrument to loosen and remove plaque and tartar without damaging your gums and teeth.

Dental scaling can be done with either handheld or ultrasonic instruments.

  • Dental scaling using hand-held instruments:
    The dentist uses a dental scaler and curette to remove plaque and tartar from the tooth.
  • Dental scaling using ultrasonic instruments:
    A vibrating metal tip chips off the tartar while a water spray washes the tartar away and keeps the tip cool.


Usually done after scaling, polishing removes surface stains while making your teeth smooth and shiny. Your dentist will use another instrument, along with a special paste, to polish your teeth.

Depending on your oral health, you may need to get your teeth cleaned every six months. If you are due for your regular cleaning you can make an appointment online or contact a dental clinic near you. We have 11 dental clinics located islandwide.


Is scaling and polishing painful?

While you may feel some scraping sensations, scaling and polishing usually causes little to no pain. Some discomfort or sensitivity may be felt in deep cleaning which can be controlled with topical anesthetic cream or local anesthesia that numb the gums and tooth roots.

Does scaling and polishing whiten teeth?

Scaling and polishing can help to make your teeth look cleaner and brighter by removing surface stains caused by coffee, tea and smoking on your teeth. However, if you wish to improve the shade of your teeth you may need to opt for cosmetic teeth whitening. Cosmetic whitening treatments bleach the structure of your teeth to achieve a whiter tooth shade. You can learn more about your teeth whitening options here.

How often should we make an appointment for scaling and polishing?

At Raffles Dental, we recommend a visit every 6 to 12 months to avoid a heavy build-up of plaque, tartar and stains. If there is a heavy buildup, air polishing and deep scaling may be required to ensure that all of the buildup is removed. Additional treatment might also be required if cavities or gum disease develop due to poor oral hygiene.

About Raffles Dental

In Singapore, Raffles Dental provides a comprehensive range of services to prevent, diagnose and treat dental and oral diseases. Our dental clinics are conveniently located islandwide, and include Raffles HospitalHolland VillageWoodlands, and Tampines. We are dedicated to providing the highest standard of professional care and service to our patients.

Contact Raffles Dental

Make an enquiry if you require more information.

Our staff will get back to you within 2 working days.