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Scaling and Polishing

Scaling and polishing are part of a teeth cleaning routine that helps to maintain good oral hygiene.

It keeps your gums and teeth healthy by removing stains, plaque and tartar that regular brushing cannot.

Making routine visits to your dentist for scaling and polishing can allow you to detect dental issues such as gum disease or cavities, and rectify them before they worsen.

Table of contents

Scaling is the process of loosening and getting rid of plaque and tartar using specialised dental instruments, namely hand-held or ultrasonic instruments.

  • Hand-held: A dental scaler and curette is used to remove plaque and tartar manually.
  • Ultrasonic: Tartar is removed using the vibrating tip of the instrument and is washed away with a water spray.

For polishing, a spinning brush or cup is used to eliminate plaque and stains and smoothen the surface of your teeth. This makes it harder for dirt to adhere to your teeth in future.

  • Eliminate Plaque and Tartar

    When bacteria binds with food particles found on your teeth, plaque is formed. Over time, the plaque will harden to form tartar.

    Scaling and polishing can get rid of these substances found on your teeth, preventing enamel and root damage.

  • Prevent Gum Disease

    Scaling and polishing can reduce the risk of gum disease by preventing plaque and tartar from accumulating on your gum.

    This can subsequently reduce the risk of other health conditions which are linked to gum disease such as diabetes and heart disease.

  • Prevent Tooth Decay

    By removing plaque and tartar found on your teeth, tooth decay can be prevented.

    In the long run, this can allow you to save money on other dental treatments such as fillings, extraction and even dental implants.

  • Improve the Appearance of Your Teeth

    By removing surface stains caused by coffee, tea or smoking, scaling and polishing can make your teeth look smoother, cleaner and brighter.

  • Eliminate Bad Breath

    Bacteria found in your mouth can cause bad breath.

    By cleaning your teeth and removing any signs of tartar, you can eliminate bad breath and speak confidently.

Step 1: Consultation

When you visit the dentist, you will start off with a regular consultation. Your teeth will be examined and your dental health will be evaluated.

After which, the scaling and polishing process will begin.

Step 2: Scaling

During this process, the dentist will remove plaque and tartar from your teeth and gums using a handheld and/or ultrasonic dental instrument.

You may be asked to rinse your mouth occasionally to expel the plaque or tartar that was removed.

Step 3: Polishing

Once scaling has been completed, the dentist will begin polishing your teeth.

Using a soft rubber cup, a gritty paste will be applied to your teeth in a circular motion. This serves to smoothen the surface and remove slight stains*.

After all your teeth have been polished, some fluoride may be applied over them as a protective layer. Do note that this is only done if necessary and at an additional cost.

*Teeth discolouration or stubborn stains cannot be removed by polishing. Your dentist may recommend other dental procedures such as teeth whitening depending on your condition.

  • Dentist

    $76.30 - $141.70

    (Inclusive of GST)

  • Oral Hygienist

    $65.40 - $109.00

    (Inclusive of GST)

Dentists are in charge of diagnosing, treating and preventing dental diseases while oral hygienists focus mainly on oral hygiene and providing preventive dental care. Both our dentists and oral hygienists are trained in scaling and polishing.

For more information on the differences between dentists and oral hygienists, refer to our FAQs below.


Subsidies for Scaling and Polishing

In Singapore, you can receive subsidies for dental services such as scaling and polishing depending on your eligibility. These are the subsidies available and the claimable amount per year:

  • CHAS Blue card: $50.50
  • Merdeka Generation card: $60.50
  • Pioneer Generation card: $70.50

You may claim up to 2 scaling and 2 polishing treatments per year.

  • Professional Service

    i.Dental has been in the industry for over 30 years and we are dedicated to providing professional dental services to our customers.

  • Equipped with Technology

    We invest in medically proven technology to help you achieve the results you seek and provide a comfortable dental care experience.


During the process of scaling and polishing, plaque and tartar are removed and your teeth are polished to look smoother and brighter. This helps to improve your overall oral health and hygiene, and the appearance of your teeth.

On the other hand, teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure that involves bleaching (whitening) your teeth. It does not have any effect on oral hygiene.

Yes, scaling and polishing is the same as teeth cleaning. This dental treatment is done during routine dental check ups and aims to remove plaque and tartar that can be hard to remove by the normal brushing of teeth.

No. If done by a skilled professional, it should be a smooth and harmless procedure that does not damage your teeth.

However, you may experience mild bleeding and slight sensitivity after the procedure (depending on the severity of the initial condition). These symptoms should wear off within 2 weeks of your appointment.

No, scaling and polishing typically cause little to no pain, though you may experience some discomfort or sensitivity during the procedure.

Both dentists and oral hygienists are trained in providing scaling and polishing services. However, there are certain differences between them.

Dentists are recognised as professional doctors who are skilled in all areas of dentistry. They focus on diagnosing and laying out the treatment plan for patients. On the other hand, oral hygienists are licensed professionals who mainly provide preventive dental care and services related to oral hygiene.

If you are visiting i.Dental for the first time, your first appointment will be with a dentist. Subsequently, you may opt for an oral hygienist for future appointments.

On average, scaling and polishing takes approximately 30 minutes. A slightly longer treatment time may be required if you have more stains or a buildup of tartar.

It is recommended to visit the dentist for scaling and polishing every 6 to 12 months. After the treatment, you will be advised on the date for the follow-up appointment, depending on your dental health.

Making routine visits to the dentist for scaling and polishing helps to prevent staining and a buildup of plaque and tartar. It can also prevent gum disease and cavities, both of which might require additional treatment.

To maintain your oral health and hygiene, it is important to practice these habits:

  • Brush your teeth thrice a day for 2 minutes
  • Floss at least once a day
  • Visit the dentist for scaling and polishing every 6 to 12 months

Ready to achieve your ideal smile?

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