What is Included in a Dental Cleaning?

We all know the importance of going to the dentist and how getting a dental cleaning twice a year keeps us from getting cavities and gum disease. Still, if it’s been a while since you’ve been to the dentist or you’re just not up on modern dental practices, you may wonder what is included as part of a dental cleaning.

Dental cleanings are a routine procedure but necessary even for patients with a good oral hygiene routine, simply because there are parts of the mouth that a toothbrush and floss can’t get as clean as a dentist’s tools.

The Initial Exam

Most dental cleanings begin with an examination by the dentist. Before the dentist starts scraping away plaque and tartar on the teeth, they want to examine the patient’s mouth to ensure no major health issues that need immediate treatment or other signs of concern. Depending on the state of your overall health, the dentist may prioritize certain forms of treatment or order a more detailed cleaning procedure if necessary. A basic examination looks for signs of tooth decay and gum disease that may have developed since the last cleaning.

If everything is okay, your dentist can begin the routine cleaning.

1. Tartar and Plaque Removal

This is the part of the dental cleaning process that most patients dislike the most because it involves scraping and poking at the gums and teeth, but it is also the most necessary part of the process. Plaque builds up around teeth and along the gumline. Over time this plaque hardens into tartar, and tartar is harder to remove than plaque. This is the point in the cleaning when the dentist has to scrape and pick away the tartar to remove it. The more tartar you have built up on your teeth, the longer this cleaning portion will take.

Brushing can’t remove tartar, so cleaning teeth thoroughly before plaque forms is best to avoid long dental cleanings. Once the plaque and tartar removal is complete, the next step of the cleaning begins.

 2.  Brushing With an Abrasive Toothpaste

After your teeth have been scraped clean, the dentist or hygienist will brush your teeth with a special toothpaste that is meant to scrub the teeth clean of any remaining tartar or plaque as well as food debris and other particles. This professional brushing may be more aggressive than your at-home brushing routine, but the purpose is to clean the teeth fully.

Afterward, the dentist may review your oral hygiene habits and make specific suggestions about keeping your teeth clean. If you have a lot of debris, plaque, and tartar, they may suggest using an electric toothbrush or changing the toothpaste you use to clean your teeth. Patients can also talk to the dentist about sensitivity and other issues they may have to find the best products for their daily routine.

3. Professional Flossing

Even if you floss every day yourself, when you come to the dentist for a cleaning, you’ll receive expert flossing from the dental hygienist. Dental hygienists are trained in where to floss and the problem areas many people miss when they floss at home. This flossing is much more thorough and precise than when you floss between meals at home.

The hygienist will find all the areas you may normally miss when flossing and can help instruct you on proper flossing to get those difficult-to-reach areas where food tends to get stuck. If left alone, food particles cause germs to form. These germs can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and infection. Learning how to floss properly will save you many trips to the dentist.

4. Fluoride Treatment

Once the professional flossing is complete, the dental hygienist will perform a fluoride treatment. These dental-grade treatments are much stronger than the fluoride in some toothpaste and help protect your teeth. Fluoride helps to strengthen the enamel of your teeth and protect them from staining. The fluoride is applied to the teeth’s outer surface and allowed to sit on the teeth for a few moments to soak in.

After the fluoride treatment is complete, the hygienist will set up your next appointment, and you may speak to the dentist about the state of your oral hygiene and any things you may need to do to improve before your next visit. For most patients, routine cleaning is very quick and completely painless. If yours takes a while, you may need to improve your hygiene.

If by any chance you are looking for a dentist in Coppell, TX then we recommend Compassion Smiles Dentistry – Coppell.  They have one of the most hygienic dental office and friendly staff.

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