The aim of the present study was to compare the root surface wear and roughness, resulted from the professional dental hygiene instruments, including ultrasonic dental scalers, rubber prophy cups, and nylon bristle brushes, on the extracted human mandibular incisor teeth. Teeth (n = 80) were randomly assigned into eight groups according to the applied scaler type (Ma = Magnetostrictive, Pi = Piezoelectric), degree of power (M = Medium, F = Full), and angulation (0 degrees and 45 degrees). In the second stage, the specimens (n = 40) were further divided into two groups according to the applied polishing device (nylon bristle brush or rubber prophy cup). Laser scanner and contact profilometer devices were used for the surface analysis. Both ultrasonic instruments tested in our study produced rougher surfaces when full power was used at a 0 degrees angle (p < 0.01). The highest wear (0.82 +/- 0.07 mm(3)) and roughness values (0.30 +/- 0.01 mu m) were detected in the PiF0 group. Polishing performed with a rubber prophy cup resulted in almost twice the wear as well as a smoother surface when compared to polishing performed with a nylon bristle brush (p < 0.001). Variations in the application parameters of ultrasonic scalers and the type of polishing instrument might lead to significantly different root-surface characteristics.