Tooth polishing removes plaque or stains remaining on the teeth after thorough scaling. The purpose of polishing tooth surfaces is to make these surfaces smooth which makes it more difficult for plaque and debris to accumulate on your teeth to cause decay or gum disease.
Dental polishing or prophy, is only done after completing the clinical exam if there is no presence of gum disease.
Tooth polishing is not a procedure that cleans infected, diseased gum tissue and root surfaces. This is only a superficial cleaning and will not eliminate disease or get it under control. However it is a preventive procedure and is a first-line defense against catastrophic dental problems.
Tooth cleaning should be done by your dentist or a licensed professional in the dental office as the improper use of a prophy cup and abrasive paste can have harmful effects on the teeth including: loss of tooth structure, removal of fluoride-rich surface enamel, thermal injury to the pulp, and trauma to soft tissues.