Prophy polishing agents contain a mild abrasive for the supragingival and subgingival removal of plaque, calculus, and stain.
Commercially prepared prophy pastes are available in bulk and unit doses, with grit graded from fine to coarse. They combine an abrasive (pumice, aluminum oxide, silicon carbide, aluminum silicate, silicon dioxide, carbide compounds, garnet, feldspar, zirconium silicate, zirconium oxide, boron, calcium carbonate, emery, perlite, silica) with a binder, humectants, coloring agent, preservatives and flavoring agents. Some pastes also contain fluoride. Dry powders (flours) must be mixed with a liquid, and are graded in order of increasing fineness (F, FF, and FFF).
Polishing pastes containing perlite have been available for more than a decade. Their abrasive particles are believed to break down and become less abrasive under pressure. Newer formulations include amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP) pastes and similar products, such as casein phosphopeptide-amorphous calcium phosphate (CPP-ACP), which are formulated to remineralize enamel subsurface carious lesions. Polishing paste with calcium sodium phosphosilicate, a bioactive glass that rapidly releases calcium and phosphorus ions, is designed to relieve dentinal hypersensitivity immediately.