WHAT HAPPENS DURING TEETH CLEANING APPOINTMENTS?
Cleaning your teeth is one of the most basic services your dentist provides. It’s also one of the most important! Your dentist or dental hygienist will usually clean your teeth in conjunction with a routine check-up. They use a variety of dental instruments to scrape plaque and tartar off your teeth. These instruments can get to hard-to-reach areas and remove built-up tartar that’s too tough for toothbrushes or floss to remove. After cleaning your teeth, we also polish them to restore their natural, white appearance and smooth texture.
Teeth cleaning is a quick and easy part of having good oral health. We recommend everyone see a dentist for a professional tooth cleaning at least once every six months.
WHY SHOULD I HAVE MY TEETH CLEANED?
We recommend everyone receive periodic professional teeth cleaning, no matter how diligent they are about their oral hygiene. Dentists and dental hygienists with the right instruments can always clean your teeth more thoroughly than you could. We can reach into places most people miss and remove tartar and plaque that’s too tough for your brush. A cleaning also gives your dentist the opportunity to look for any potential tooth or gum problems.
During a cleaning, dentists and hygienists are able to see how you’ve been taking care of your teeth and offer you pointers on how you could clean your teeth more effectively. We’ll even give you everything you need to make sure your teeth stay healthy and clean in the future. Think of your teeth cleaning appointment as a check-up. We make sure everything looks good, and help make sure it stays that way.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I NEED MY TEETH CLEANED?
How long has it been since your last dental appointment? If it’s been longer than six months, then it’s probably about time to come in for a cleaning. If you can’t remember how long it’s been, then it’s definitely time to come in for a cleaning. You should also consider coming in for an appointment if any of the following applies to you:
- Your teeth look or feel gritty or covered by debris
- Your teeth look yellow or stained
- When you brush or floss, your gums bleed
- Brushing or flossing hurts your teeth or gums
- You have tooth pain
- Your teeth are sensitive to temperature changes
- It hurts to chew
- Your gums, lips, mouth, or jaw is swollen
Sometimes, dental cleanings can successfully treat problems before they become serious concerns. The way to treat gingivitis, for instance, is simply to thoroughly clean the teeth in the areas where the gums are red or swollen. Even if we can’t solve your problem with a simple cleaning, we still recommend you come in. During cleanings, we can identify what your problem is and begin to take steps toward solving it.
HOW DO TEETH CLEANING APPOINTMENTS WORK?
We usually clean your teeth as part of a routine check-up. Some specific details of a cleaning may depend on your situation or dentist, but it’ll generally follow these steps:
1. The dental hygienist or dentist will use a scaler or “dental pick” to scrape tartar and plaque off your teeth. The scaler can effectively remove even hardened calculus that a toothbrush can’t. If the plaque in your mouth hardens into tartar, a scaler is the only effective way to remove it. If there is a lot of tartar on the teeth, we’ll usually start by using an ultrasonic scaler to remove the majority of it, then switch to hand scalers. The ultrasonic scaler makes the process quicker and easier for everyone.
2. The hygienist or dentist will periodically rinse your mouth using a water sprayer and suction at various points during the cleaning. These tools are to help remove debris and polishing paste from your mouth. We may also use suction and quick blasts of air to dry the teeth to better see what’s happening in the mouth.
3. After we finish with the scalers, the teeth are polished to remove staining and restore your teeth to their natural color. We polish teeth by applying a special mildly abrasive paste to a flexible applicator called a prophy cup. The prophy cup rotates and applies the paste smoothly and evenly. The polishing works by gently removing any remaining debris from the enamel, restoring the smooth natural surface of the teeth.
4. We’ll usually end by flossing your teeth using conventional string floss. This removes any residual debris or prophy paste from between the teeth. Don’t worry, we’re experts at flossing!
5. After the cleaning and polishing is complete, the dentist will generally continue on with the remainder of your regular exam.
WHEN SHOULD I HAVE MY TEETH CLEANED?
As soon as you can! The longer you wait to clean your teeth, the more plaque can build up and harden into tartar. If you have dental problems, then the best way to deal with them is to address them early. A dental cleaning can help you do that.
You can schedule your next appointment with us online or come in for a walk-in cleaning any day. Don’t wait; get your teeth cleaned today!