What Goes on During Your Cleaning

It is obvious from the name that an appointment for a professional dental cleaning focuses on cleaning your teeth, but so much more happens during this type of appointment. Curious about what exactly is being done during your dental cleaning? We have the answers for you.

Inspection of the Teeth and Gums

Many dental problems, such as gingivitis, gum disease, and cavities, are asymptomatic. That means you could have these problems and never know it. Luckily, your dentist or dental hygienist starts your appointment for a professional dental cleaning by conducting a brief examination of your teeth and gums.

Using a small handheld mirror, your dentist or dental hygienist will take a closer look at your gums and the surfaces of your teeth. They are looking for any obvious signs of dental problems such as cracks or chips, red or swollen gums, and dark stains or spots on the teeth. In addition to conducting a visual examination, your dentist or dental hygienist will typically ask you if you are experiencing any problems with your teeth and gums.   

Conducting this brief examination allows dental staff to spot potential dental problems before they get worse. If the problems are spotted early, treatment is easier, more cost-effective, and less painful.

Taking of Digital X-Rays and Pictures

Dentists use digital x-rays and pictures to take a closer look at your teeth and gums. These digital images can often spot various dental problems, such as infections, slight cracks or fractures, and cavities, which might not be visible during the inspection.

Every dental office has different policies regarding digital x-rays and pictures. Some offices take these images during every professional cleaning while others only take them once a year or if there are concerns about a dental problem.

The Professional Teeth Cleaning Procedure

After the brief examination and x-rays, it is time for your professional teeth cleaning. Most dental offices have a dental hygienist perform the professional cleaning, but sometimes your dentist may do it. It will depend on who is available.

A professional dental cleaning is designed to remove any plaque or tartar that has built up on the surfaces of your teeth and around your gum line. Using a specialized tool known as a scaler, your hygienist or dentist will carefully work to scrape off tartar and plaque. This is usually the most unpleasant and uncomfortable part of the dental cleaning.

How long it takes for your dentist or dentist hygienist to remove the plaque and tartar will vary depending upon how much work they need to do. If you brush and floss regularly and properly remove most plaque from your mouth, this step of the cleaning process may only take a half hour. However, if you don’t brush and floss regularly or you don’t brush properly, this step could take over an hour.

Remove Surface Stains and Brighten Your Teeth with a Professional Power Polishing

Once all plaque and tartar have been removed it is time to brighten up your smile. This is done by power polishing your teeth with a very specialized toothbrush and toothpaste. The toothpaste has a grittier substance to it which helps in the removal of most surface stains while the toothbrush is more powerful than a regular toothbrush which means you get a better and deeper clean.

Professional Flossing of the Teeth

No professional teeth cleaning would be complete without flossing. Before you leave, your hygienist or dentist will professionally floss your teeth. While flossing he or she may give you pointers on how to improve your flossing at home.

Possible Fluoride Routine

If you are at risk of developing tooth decay or you have weakened enamel on your teeth, your dentist may recommend that you undergo a professional fluoride treatment. Fluoride has been shown through multiple studies to reverse early signs of tooth decay and even prevent it.

The Final Examination

One last final examination of your teeth and gums will be done before you leave the office. Some of the things your dentist will look for during this examination include signs of teeth grinding, symptoms of gum disease, signs that any existing dental restorations need to be replaced, and looking for signs of oral cancer.

Is it time for a professional dental cleaning? Call Artistic Touch Dentistry to schedule an appointment for a routine examination and professional cleaning.