5 Things You Need to Know About Coronal Polishing

When our teeth and gums are healthy, we feel more confident. However, the tooth enamel gets stained or turns yellowish as we go about our daily drinking and eating habits. To clean the teeth and make them shiny again, RDAs perform coronal or tooth polishing.

Due to its overzealous use, coronal polishing can be harmful and lead to the wearing of the superficial tooth structure. Eventually, it will lead to more accumulation of deposits around the teeth. That is why coronal polishing should be done selectively according to the patient’s need. So, before you ask your RDA for a coronal polishing procedure, there are certain things that you should know.

  1. What is Coronal Polishing?

Coronal polishing is the procedure that removes stain and plaque from the coronal surfaces of teeth. It often concludes many dental appointments as it gives that clean feeling to the patient. A Dental Assistant can perform this procedure but needs to meet specific credential requirements, education, or state exam.

  1. Why is Coronal Polishing an Integral Part of Dental Treatments?

Coronal polishing can:

  • Remove extrinsic stain.
  • Prepare teeth for certain dental procedures.
  • Discourage the buildup of local deposits and enhance fluoride absorption.
  • Create a smooth surface that is less likely to retain plaque, stain, and calculus.

However, a patient must be aware of the specific rules that need to be followed.

  1. When Do You Need a Coronal Polishing?

The indications for coronal polishing are:

  • Removal of light plaque and stain
  • Removal of temporary cement residues
  • Placement of crowns and bridges
  • Placement of orthodontic bands and brackets
  • Placement of dental dam
  • Placement of sealants
  • Surface cleaning before the selection of a tooth shade guide
  1. Coronal Polishing: Contraindications

It used to be a common thing to get coronal polishing at the end of a dental appointment. Dentists used to perform it to smoothen teeth, so various bacteria didn’t stick to the tooth that easily. However, polishing removes the exterior layer of tooth enamel (which takes a few months to rebuild) while the bacteria colonize on the surface regardless of the performed polishing. It is why coronal polishing should be selective, with an RDA polishing some, none, or all of the teeth.

Contraindications for coronal polishing include:

  • Intrinsic stain.
  • Areas of exposed cementum and dentin.
  • Patients with respiratory and infectious diseases, periodontitis/gingivitis, and unhealthy, spongy, edematous tissue.
  • Patients with metabolic alkalosis, Addison’s disease, hypertension, and Cushing’s syndrome.
  • Recession with tooth sensitivity.
  • Root caries.
  • Demineralized spots.
  • Absence of stain.
  1. Selective Polishing

What does “selective polishing” mean? It means that an RDA must carefully choose which teeth to polish. For example, if a patient has a decalcified tooth, you can polish all other teeth except that one. Dental Assistant should assess when a patient isn’t suited for coronal polishing because it can affect their oral health.

The Coronal Polishing exam is mandatory for all RDA Applicants who want to obtain their license. Dental Specialties Institute, Inc offers a course in Coronal Polishing (approved by the Dental Board of California) which includes supervised clinical and classroom training. Participants need to pass a written and clinical exam, while Licensed Dentists and Hygienists supervise the clinical final exam. Feel free to contact us for any inquiries.