Tooth polishing is the act of smoothing the tooth surface to remove stains and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling. The purpose of polishing is to make it difficult for plaque to accumulate on the surface area.
It is performed when scaling has removed the hardened tartar buildup. The patient is assessed by the dentist and hygienist to determine whether coronal polishing is necessary. If it is deemed necessary, a coronal polishing will remove any stain build up not removed by the scaling procedure.
Common practice is to use a prophy cup—a small motorized rubber cup—along with an abrasive polishing compound.