Teeth Polishing vs. Teeth Whitening: What's the Difference? Get the Facts Here!

teeth whitening

Many people prioritize keeping their smiles healthy and dazzling, which motivates them to research different dental procedures. Teeth whitening and teeth polishing are two common choices. Even if the goal of these treatments is to improve the appearance of your teeth, they have various functions and provide unique advantages.

We'll examine the distinctions between teeth whitening and polishing in this thorough guide to assist you in making decisions regarding your dental treatment.

What is Teeth Polishing?

A standard dental operation called teeth polishing is usually carried out along with a basic tooth cleaning. The main objective of dental teeth polishing is to get rid of plaque and surface stains that have built up on the teeth over time.

What Does Teeth Polishing Do?

When teeth are polished, extrinsic stains from things like coffee, tea, tobacco, and some foods are the main focus. The teeth get discolored as a result of these stains building up on the surface of the enamel over time. Professionals in dentistry can efficiently eliminate these surface stains and show a more radiant smile by polishing the teeth.

The Teeth Polishing Procedure

  • Examination: To look for any indications of dental issues, the hygienist will first inspect your mouth.
  • Scaling: The hygienist will use specialized instruments to remove tartar and plaque from your teeth and along the gum line.
  • Polishing: Your teeth will be polished to get rid of any last stains and even out the surface after they have been cleaned.
  • Flossing: After scaling, your hygienist will floss between your teeth to get rid of any leftover plaque or food fragments.
  • Fluoride treatment: Finally, a fluoride treatment may be applied to help strengthen your teeth and prevent cavities.
polishing his teeth
A man polishing his teeth

Benefits of Teeth Polishing

The following are the benefits of teeth polishing:

  • Effective Removal of Tartar and Plaque: Polishing helps to eliminate tartar and plaque from teeth. If plaque, a sticky layer of germs, is not routinely cleaned, it can cause gum disease and tooth decay.
  • Gum Disease Prevention: Polishing aids in the prevention of gum disease by removing plaque and tartar. Gum recession, gum inflammation, and even tooth loss can result from gum disorders such as periodontitis and gingivitis.
  • Fresher Breath: Halitosis, or bad breath, can be caused by the buildup of plaque and tartar. Better dental hygiene and fresher breath are the outcomes of polishing, which eliminates the bacterial accumulation that causes odor.
  • Better Oral Health: By lowering the likelihood of cavities, gum infections, and other dental issues, polishing helps to improve oral health generally. It supports the upkeep of healthy teeth, gums, and surrounding tissues.

Teeth Polishing Side Effects

The following are possible side effects of teeth polishing:

  • Tooth Sensitivity: A temporary reaction to hot or cold meals and beverages.
  • Gum Irritation: Moderate gum irritation or pain, particularly in sensitive cases.
  • Enamel Wear: Overuse of abrasive pastes or excessive polishing can eventually cause enamel erosion.

Teeth Polishing Tool

A portable gadget with a tiny rotating head is used to polish teeth. It enables the dentist to meticulously oversee the polishing procedure.

DIY TeethPolishing

Although there are kits available for doing tooth polishing at home, getting expert dental treatment is usually advised for polishing. Do-it-yourself projects may result in poor technique, damage to the enamel, or inefficient stain removal.

Teeth Polishing At Home

In a dentist's office, professional teeth polishing is usually done. Regular dental hygiene practices at home include brushing, flossing, and using non-abrasive toothpaste to keep teeth clean and stain-free.

Teeth Polishing Paste

During the polishing procedure, teeth polishing paste is a slightly abrasive material that is used to remove surface stains and plaque. It is available in several tastes and grit levels based on individual dental requirements.

Teeth Polishing and Scaling

After scaling—the procedure that removes tartar and plaque from the teeth and gums—teeth polishing is frequently performed. Scaling and polishing combined offer a thorough cleaning to preserve dental health.

Teeth Polishing After Braces

Teeth polishing can assist in removing any remaining adhesive or stains that may have formed during orthodontic treatment after braces have been removed. It gives teeth their original luster and smoothness.

Dentist Teeth Polishing

Teeth polishing is a common element of preventive care and routine dental cleanings, carried out by dental professionals such as dentists and dental hygienists. They possess the knowledge and equipment required to polish teeth securely and efficiently.

Teeth Polishing Before and After

Your teeth could seem discolored or lifeless before teeth polishing. Your teeth should feel smoother and appear much brighter after polishing.

teeth polish before and after
A girl shows her teeth polish before and after

Scaling and Polishing of Teeth

After scaling—the procedure that removes tartar and plaque from the teeth and gums—teeth polishing is frequently performed. Scaling and polishing combined offer a thorough cleaning to preserve dental health.

Scaling of teeth
Scaling of teeth

What is Teeth Whitening?

The cosmetic technique known as teeth whitening, or dental bleaching, wants to make your teeth look whiter and brighter. It involves lightening the tint of your natural teeth with chemical substances like hydrogen peroxide. Teeth whitening can erase stains and discolorations caused by food, drinks, smoking, and aging, but it cannot change the color of your teeth.

teeth whitening
A girl is showing her before and after teeth whitening

In office Whitening

A dentist often accomplishes this by applying a potent bleaching solution to the teeth and activating it with a specialized light. While in-office whitening yields faster and more noticeable results than at-home whitening, it comes at a higher cost.

At-Home Whitening Kit

Teeth whitening kits, which include 3 whitening gel, 6 bulbs LED light, user manual and 1 thermoform mouth tray, can be personalized and sent home by dentists. Over time, the teeth lighten as a result of the patients wearing the trays with gel applied to them for the designated amount of time.

At-home teeth whitening kit
At-home teeth whitening kit

Whitening Toothpaste

Several pastes have modest concentrations of bleaching chemicals and mild abrasives, which can help lighten surface stains and somewhat whiten teeth. They may not be effective in eliminating deeply ingrained stains due to their very weak bleaching impact.

whitening toothpaste
A man is using whitening toothpaste to whiten his teeth

Advantages of Teeth Whitening

The following are the advantages of teeth whitening:

  • Enhanced Aesthetics: By eliminating stains and discolorations brought on by aging, smoking, coffee, tea, or specific drugs, laser teeth whitening can considerably lighten the color of teeth.
  • Quick outcomes: Laser teeth whitening usually produces obvious changes in a few sessions, giving it speedier outcomes than other whitening techniques.
  • Safety and Accuracy: The whitening gel can be precisely targeted with the assistance of lasers or LED lights, reducing the possibility of gum or tooth irritation.

Difference Between Teeth Whitening and Teeth Polishing

Elements Teeth Polishing Teeth Whitening
Purpose Eliminates plaque and surface stains for dental health Lighten teeth to improve their appearance aesthetically
Method With a polishing tool and a slightly abrasive paste use bleaching chemicals, frequently light-activated
Results Cleans and smooths teeth, lightly enhancing their color Noticeably lightens tooth color and changes its appearance
Duration Temporary, depends on oral hygiene Lasts for several months to a year and needs care
Frequency Usually carried out It can vary, requiring touch-ups every few months to a year
Procedure Location Carried out by a dental hygienist visits Can be done in-office or at home
Main Goal Oral health and cleanliness Improvement of cosmetic appearance
Preparation Needed None; it’s just regular cleaning For optimal effects, teeth may need to be polished before whitening
Impact on dental health Aid in preventing gum disease and cavities Mostly aesthetics, with little impact on dental hygiene

Aligner32 and Professional Teeth Whitening

Although teeth whitening done professionally can be more expensive than doing it yourself, the advantages are well worth the extra money. With little chance of dental discomfort or enamel erosion, you'll have a whiter smile safely and efficiently. Pro whitening procedures also usually have a longer lifespan than do-it-yourself techniques.

Let me now discuss another aspect of your smile that can make a big difference: straight teeth. An even brighter smile can be compromised by misaligned teeth. This is the function of Aligner32. Your teeth can be discreetly and comfortably straightened with the groundbreaking at-home transparent aligner system from Aligner32.

Why Select Aligner32 for Better Straighter Teeth?

  • Cost-effective Clear Aligner Schemes: Aligner32 is aware that getting a self-assured grin shouldn't be prohibitively expensive. Their clear aligner programs are substantially less expensive than those of traditional braces.
  • Simple At-Home Treatment: Avoid the headache of making regular trips to the dentist. You will receive a set of clear aligners mailed right to your home when you use Aligner32. All you have to do is put on each aligner for the recommended amount of time, and watch as your teeth gradually straighten.
  • Both comfortable and discrete: With the nearly invisible clear aligners, you can straighten your teeth without anybody noticing. In addition, they are easy to wear and won't go in the way of your food or speech.
  • Impressions Kit with No-Cost Evaluation: With the use of Aligner32's handy impression kit, you can take impressions of your teeth in the comfort of your own home. Afterward, orthodontists and qualified dentists evaluate these impressions to develop a customized treatment plan just for you.

To learn more about teeth whitening vs. teeth polishing, call us today at (888) 861-1884

To sum up, teeth whitening and polishing are two separate dental treatments with different goals. While teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure meant to improve the appearance of your smile, teeth polishing is a necessary component of maintaining good dental hygiene. You may choose your dental treatment and attain a bright, healthy smile by being aware of the distinctions between these procedures and how they work best together.


1. What is the primary objective of teeth polishing?

A teeth-polishing procedure leaves teeth feeling clean and smooth while removing surface stains and plaque to enhance dental health.

2. What is the goal of teeth whitening?

The goal of teeth whitening is to make your teeth appear whiter, which will improve their appearance significantly.

3. What is the recommended frequency of teeth polishing?

Teeth polishing is usually advised at your biannual dental examinations.

4. What is the duration of teeth whitening results?

Depending on your eating habits and oral cleanliness, the results of teeth whitening might last anywhere from several months to a year.

5. Is it possible to mix teeth whitening and polishing?

It is true that polishing your teeth before whitening might enhance the effectiveness of the whitening treatment.

  • Mei Lin

    Mei Lin

    Content Contributor

    Renowned as an orthodontic trailblazer, Mei Lin is a distinguished expert contributing her expertise to ALIGNER32. With a career dedicated to advancing orthodontic solutions, Lin's blogs explore the unique nuances of teeth alignment. As a trusted authority, she sheds light on how ALIGNER32 aligners cater to diverse dental needs, making... Read More

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  • Dr. Harshil Patel

    Dr. Harshil Patel

    Medical Reviewer

    Dr. Patel has practiced in various dental clinical settings and has an extensive amount of experience in multiple phases of general dentistry in the Houston, TX area. He has a holistic approach to patient care and tries to be an approachable and compassionate dentist, all while providing high-quality and ethical... Read More

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