A scale & polish is a thorough clean to remove plaque & calculus (hardened plaque). This makes home cleaning of the teeth and gums much more effective and can eliminate gum disease.
Why should I have a scale and polish?
Most people do not completely remove all of the food debris which accumulates on their teeth. This debris is quickly converted to plaque. Plaque is a soft mixture of food and bacteria. Recent plaque causes tooth decay, whereas older and established plaque causes periodontal (gum) disease.
Over time, plaque becomes very hard and impossible to brush away with a toothbrush. It forms a chalky layer on the teeth called calculus (tartar). The porous surface of the calculus provides an excellent home for more bacteria. The bacteria become progressively more aggressive over time and start to destroy the attachment between the tooth and the gum. This is called periodontal disease. It is the most common reason for tooth loss.
Regular professional cleaning with a dentist or hygienist with good home care will treat and prevent periodontal disease.