Dentistry, College of


Date of this Version



Dimensions of Dental Hygiene (January 2010) 8(1): 24, 26-28.


Copyright 2010, Belmont Publications. Used by permission.


When esthetic dental restorations are encountered during charting, they should be included in the treatment plan for the specific polishing procedures that are required. If the brand and type of esthetic restoration are known through the patient chart, the polishing procedures and products used should be those recommended by the manufacturer. If not possible, alternative polishing procedures should be used. A cleaning agent containing feldspar and rubber polishing cup can be used on all esthetic restorative materials with no chance of damage to the surface characterization.

The principles for polishing esthetic restorations are the same as for natural teeth. If the polishing agent used has more than one size grit polish the coarsest grit polish should be used first, followed by each successively smaller grit polish. During polishing, mixing larger abrasive particles with smaller particles will not produce the desired shiny surface because the particle sizes will mix. Each size grit must be applied separately. Therefore, to prevent each grit size from being contaminated with the previous size grit, the rubber cup or applicator must be replaced between applications. During the polishing procedure, the polishing paste should be frequently renewed in the polishing cup because the paste may dry as the binders are expressed during use, which will make the paste more abrasive.

Keeping esthetic restorative materials looking like they were just placed is a service highly valued by patients and is another reason to emphasize why dental hygiene appointments are so important.