Many people do not look forward to visiting their dentist, but professional dental cleanings are vital for proper oral hygiene. Regular dental cleanings can help prevent oral issues and nip severe problems in the bud. If you’re wondering what to expect from a dental cleaning, here’s an overview of the entire procedure.
An oral examination
First, your dental hygienist will carry out a physical examination of your entire mouth. During the brief inspection, they may use a small mirror to check the hard-to-see areas of their mouth for signs of trouble like inflamed gums (gingivitis) and dark spots on the teeth (potential cavities). If the examination reveals any major problem, the hygienist would immediately consult one of the dentists on whether the dental cleaning should proceed.
Removing plaque and tartar
After the mouth examination, the dental hygienist will start dental cleaning with scaling, which removes plaque and tartar. Although brushing and flossing effectively remove dental plaque, they cannot reach plaque hiding between teeth and the gum line. Plaque is the bacteria that builds around the teeth, but when left unchecked over time, it hardens into tartar.
During this process, you may hear scraping noises when the dental hygienist uses a scaler to remove plaque and tartar, but this is normal. These are then flushed away from the surface of your teeth with a jet of water. This is one of the most important parts of dental cleaning but also the least favorite.
Once the dental hygienist has successfully removed all the plaque and tartar, the next step is to use gritty tooth polish and a special high-powered brush to polish your teeth. You might hear a grinding noise while this is going on, but it is expected as the goal is to get a deep clean and eliminate every trace of tartar left behind from the scaler.
Dental cleanings should never hurt, so do not feel scared by the whirring of the toothbrush. The toothpaste comes in various flavors and has a gritty consistency that gently scrubs and polishes your teeth. Your hygienist may let you choose your preferred flavor for the paste.
Whether you floss well and regularly at home or not, you can benefit from professional flossing as it allows the hygienist to get deep between your teeth and remove any leftover plaque or toothpaste. The hygienist will guide the length of floss between neighboring teeth to remove plaque. In this step, you may receive advice on areas of concern to focus on in the future and helpful techniques you may not be aware of.
At this point, the hygienist may squirt some water into your mouth or give you a rinsing solution that consists of liquid fluoride. This stage helps to remove any debris that may be in your mouth.
Applying fluoride treatment
Your hygienist may perform a fluoride treatment as a protectant for your teeth against cavities until you return for another dental cleaning or check-up. Again, you will be asked to choose the flavor you like best, and then it will be administered using a mouthpiece that fits over your teeth.
If you are feeling anxious about visiting a dentist for teeth cleaning, don’t be. When performed by an experienced professional, the procedure can be painless and straightforward. Moreover, you will have peace of mind knowing that your teeth and gum are in excellent condition, and you can have a beautiful, healthy smile.