a. General. When all calculus deposits have been removed, the teeth can be
polished. This is done the same way a jeweler polishes jewelry, using a fine abrasive.
The abrasive used to polish teeth is a powder called zirconium silicate.
b. Procedure. The polishing agent is applied to the teeth with a small rubber
cup, using the contra-angle handpiece or the straight shaft handpiece and a disposable
prophyhead. See figure 3-18. Firm finger rests must be used at all times during the
polishing procedure. The rubber cup must be kept well-filled with paste and the dental
engine set to rotate slowly so as to avoid tissue injury and to prevent overheating the
tooth. After readily accessible surfaces of the teeth are polished, the proximal surfaces
should be polished with the paste, using unwaxed floss or tape as the carrier, to remove
the polishing paste from the interproximal spaces.
Figure 3-18. Polishing the teeth.
Section III. FLUORIDES AND PROPHYLAXIS PASTE
3-15. APPLYING FLUORIDES - GENERAL
Fluorides applied in various ways will markedly reduce the incidence of dental
caries. The most effective results are derived from incorporating fluoride in the drinking
water. Administering supplemental systemic fluoride and topical applications of fluoride
solutions, prophylaxis pastes, and fluoride toothpastes are also beneficial.