Cleaning Vs. Whitening Vs. Polishing: Understanding These Three Procedures And What Makes Them Different

29 December 2019
 Categories: Dentist, Blog

A general dentist offers a number of services that help you clean and/or whiten your teeth. What you need to know and understand is that three of these services are very different from each other and they produce different results. When you see your dentist next time, you will be able to request one of the following services based on what the service does and what you expect your chosen service to do:

Cleaning Versus Whitening

Cleaning your teeth is a hygienic process. It is meant to make your gums healthier and your teeth clean and free of the bacteria and plaque that can lead to tooth loss. You already know that cleaning your teeth via a dental professional twice a year is essential for oral health. Cleaning is very different from whitening in that whitening is "bleaching" your teeth to be the whitest they can be. Whitening does not actually clean your teeth so much as it removes the deep-set stains that exist in your teeth. It is also a cosmetic procedure, so your dental insurance will not cover whitening. Cleanings are covered by insurance. 

Whitening Versus Polishing

Whitening is cosmetic and removes deep-set stains in your teeth. Polishing is a process whereby the dentist or the hygienist uses a much grittier oral substance to buff off hardened tartar and plaque, and leaves your teeth feeling very smooth and looking shiny. Polishing might be included in your semi-annual dental cleaning, or offered as an extra service if you want it or your dentist recommends it. Whitening is completely optional and not likely to be performed unless you request it and pay for it out-of-pocket. 

Cleaning Versus Polishing

Cleaning is just brushing with a high-speed rubber-ended scrubber and then flossing after you rinse and spit. Polishing is an added step to cleaning if your tartar and plaque issues are severe enough to warrant it. Even if your polishing is not warranted, you might want to ask for it anyway because it gives you really clean teeth, even cleaner than just a hygienic cleaning. A little bit of grit polish might be left on your teeth after the polishing, and a good rinse and spit round can help remove most of the grit that remains. 

The Absolute Cleanest and Whitest Your Teeth Can Be

The absolute cleanest and whitest your teeth can be combines all three of these procedures. Your teeth would need to be cleaned, polished, and then whitened by your dentist before achieving maximum results. Your insurance should cover everything but the whitening. 

For more information about these and other dental procedures, reach out to clinics like Brookside Dental Associates.