What is involved in a Teeth Cleaning?
Patients often wonder what is involved in a teeth cleaning and often express anxiety about having the procedure completed while visiting the dentist. With the prodding, noises and occasional discomfort felt through the cleaning procedure, it is very easy to understand the apprehension of some patients.
Patients should not fear having their teeth cleaned. It is one of the fundamental procedures and is often simple and painless.
At Dental Arts, we want you to know exactly what is happening during this process. Having an understanding of what is taking place can help ease your stress and allow you to better enjoy the results at the end of your dental appointment.
First, there is a physical exam.
Most cleanings are performed by a trained dental hygienist. Before your cleaning actually begins, your hygienist will usually begin with a short physical exam of your entire mouth using a small mirror. During this phase of your cleaning, your teeth and gums are being examined for any signs of gingivitis (inflamed gums) or any other potential concerns. If any major problems are detected, the hygienist will usually consult with your dentist before proceeding with your cleaning.
Second, plaque and tarter are removed.
The dental hygienist will use a scaler to remove plaque and tarter from around your gum line and between your teeth. During this phase of your cleaning you will hear scraping but this noise is normal. The more tarter there is, the more scraping. Brushing and flossing between cleanings helps prevent the buildup of plaque and tarter.
Third, the hygienist uses gritty toothpaste.
After your teeth are plaque and tarter free, your dental hygienist will use a high-powered electric brush to remove any remnants of tarter left behind by the scaler. The toothpaste used during this phase of your cleaning has a gritty consistency that will gently scrub your teeth. Some hygienists will refer to this as a polishing.
Forth, next comes the expert flossing.
Your dental hygienist will floss between your teeth and locate any potential trouble spots. This will also identify any leftover plaque or tarter missed earlier in the cleaning process.
Fifth, the rinsing.
Once your hygienist has finished your flossing, you will be given an opportunity to rinse out your moth. This rinse may contain liquid fluoride or may just be clean water.
Sixth, applying the fluoride treatment.
The last step of the cleaning process is usually a fluoride treatment. This is used to as a protectant for your teeth and help fight against cavities for the next several months.