Dentist in Gwynedd
Porthmadog Dental Centre
76 High Street, Porthmadog, Gwynedd LL49 9NW

Scale and Polish – What’s the Purpose?

September 26, 2016

Its more than likely you will have visited the dentist for a check-up, and had a ‘scale and polish’. What some people don’t realise is that it is more than just ‘cleaning’ the teeth for aesthetic purposes; it also plays a key role in preventing gum disease.

Gum Disease (Gingivitis)

Gum disease is now a more common cause of tooth loss than dental decay.

Signs and Symptoms: red, swollen gums that bleed when brushing.

What Causes it?

There are millions of bacteria in the mouth at all times, and these bacteria thrive on food debris that get caught between the teeth and along the gum margin. Without effective daily removal of food debris with brushing and flossing, these bacterial colonies of plaque grow. Toxins in the plaque irritate the gums and cause inflammation, which in turn makes cleaning and removal of the plaque even more difficult. Minerals in saliva incorporate into the plaque, causing it to harden and become calculus. This has a rough surface, making cleaning even more difficult.
Gingivitis is fully reversible if plaque and calculus are removed completely from above and below the gum margins, and oral health is managed and maintained.

Keeping to your regular scale and polish appointments at Porthmadog Dental centre will remove any build-up of plaque and calculus, and will reverse the effects of gingivitis, or stop it occurring in the first place.


Failure to manage and treat gingivitis will lead to periodontitis, which is an irreversible condition, however its progression can be halted. This is why regular dental check-ups and performing a scale and polish when needed is essential, even if you do not enjoy it or find it uncomfortable.

Signs and Symptoms: receded gums exposing the tooth roots; bad taste in mouth; bad breath (halitosis); mobile / drifted teeth.

What causes it?

Periodontitis occurs when plaque toxins penetrate deeper into the tissues. These then attack the bone which surrounds the teeth, causing bone loss and the gums to recede. Once the bone loss and gum recession is advanced, the walls of the tooth socket are destroyed and the tooth becomes loose.
Although periodontitis is not reversible, it can be effectively managed and controlled to stop the disease progressing.

Treatment at Porthmadog Dental Centre involves deep scaling, usually under local anaesthetic as it can be uncomfortable below gum level – a good reason to attend regular check-ups to avoid this treatment in the first place.


Of course, regular brushing and flossing is important to prevent gum disease and periodontitis.
Regular check-ups at Porthmadog Dental Centre are also essential to allow monitoring for any early signs of gum disease, and treat it early.

To help protect your teeth and gums, please call our reception to arrange a check-up appointment on 01766 515729.

We are now offering Denplan!

To find out more, please contact us.