There are two ways to scale teeth.
Hand scalers : These come in different sizes and shapes, to reach different parts of your teeth. This is why you will see the hygienist changing instruments quite often.
Electric scalers : These use very fast vibration with water. The water is sucked out of your mouth. A hand scaler is used to check whether the teeth are completely clean.
For polishing, your dentist will use a rotating brush or rubber polisher with toothpaste.
Scaling cleans above and below the gums. If you have gum disease, scaling needs to be deeper, around the roots of the teeth.
This is called 'root planning'. Your hygienist may give you a local anaesthetic to make it more comfortable.
Your dental hygienist will tell you about the best way to clean your teeth and gums thoroughly at home.