A dental cleaning is a key part of any visit to the dentist and plays a crucial role in your overall dental hygiene. Dental cleanings can be stressful, anxiety-ridden experiences for both kids and adults. But they don’t have to be.
By knowing what a dental cleaning entails and what you can expect at your next visit to the dentist, you can remain stress-free and walk out with a bright smile. Generally, you can expect to go through four main stages at your next dental cleaning.
Stage 1: The Physical Exam
Before the dental cleaning can begin, a dental hygienist uses a small mirror to physically examine your mouth, gums, and teeth. At this stage of a routine dental cleaning, the hygienist will check for gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gums, or other visible issues.
If they find anything major, the hygienist will loop in the dentist before proceeding. Otherwise, they will begin removing plaque and tartar.
While many people fear routine dental cleaning because they think it will be painful, the majority of dental cleanings are pain-free. At most, you can expect minor discomfort. A few exceptions to this that could result in pain during a dental cleaning include:
- If it has been an extremely long time between cleanings
- Sensitivity due to tooth decay or a broken filling
- The presence of gum disease or inflammation
Stage 2: Deep Cleaning
The second stage of a dental cleaning involves removing plaque and tartar build-up from between and on the surface of your teeth. The hygienist, still utilizing the small mirror, uses a scaler to remove plaque and tartar. The process includes a scraping sound that, while it can sound off-putting, simply means your teeth are getting clean.
This stage can take longer if your teeth have more tartar build-up. Tartar is the result of plaque being allowed to accumulate and harden. Once plaque turns into tartar, it requires a dentist’s tools to remove. A simple way to avoid tartar build-up is regular brushing and flossing.
Stage 3: Scrubbing and Flossing
Next comes a gritty toothpaste cleaning. Similar in purpose and scent to household toothpastes, the added grit scrubs your teeth clean as the hygienist wields an electric brush that helps to rid the mouth of any last tartar the scaler didn’t remove.
The last piece of the cleaning stage involves flossing. While this step may feel pointless in how similar it looks to the type of flossing you do at home, a professional floss is able to reach areas and remove plaque in ways the flossing you do by yourself cannot.
Stage 4: Cleaning Up
After all that cleaning comes a rinse. The dental hygienist uses a tool resembling a tiny vacuum to suck loose debris and excess water from your mouth. Lastly comes a fluoride treatment. Depending on your dentist, the fluoride is usually applied as a gel or paste in a mouthpiece that fits over your teeth for about one minute or else as a varnish that they brush onto your teeth. Fluoride treatment protects the enamel coating on your teeth and helps fight cavities for months following your appointment. To keep your teeth sparkling, remember to visit your dentist for the following services:
- Dental cleaning
- Orthodontic care
- Emergency dentistry
Addressing dental concerns before they become dental emergencies is our top priority at Greenwood Dental.
Dental Cleaning Services at Greenwood Dental
Greenwood Dental offers comprehensive dental cleaning services to keep your teeth at their best and your smile looking fresh. If you need to schedule a routine dental cleaning, contact our team at 855.528.3961, or contact us online to set up an appointment.