Make Time For Your Teeth
It’s a busy world, and time is of the essence. It’s easy to consider skipping your dental cleaning if you haven’t noticed any discomfort or changes to your smile.
The dentist’s office may not be high on your list of exciting outings, but research shows that regular dental visits result in happier teeth.
Patients with a regular dental care routine have less chance of developing tooth decay, needing fillings, or having a tooth removed.
How Long is a Routine Cleaning Appointment?
The length of your cleaning appointment depends on one person: You!
A routine dental cleanings take between 30 minutes to an hour to complete, but the amount of plaque and most importantly calculus on your teeth will ultimately determine how long you spend reclined in the dentist’s chair. This is common for patients that regularly return for their cleanings as recommended. Patients that have gone many years without a cleaning may require several visits to complete their first cleaning properly.
What is Plaque?
Plaque is a soft build-up in the mouth made up of living bacteria that feed on the food we eat.
Plaque that remains on your teeth can turn into tartar (formally known as calculus). Which is the hard calcified material that adheres to enamel and root surfaces above and below the gums.
Why Should I Get My Teeth Cleaned?
You work hard at home to keep your teeth pearly white, so why bother with a professional cleaning?
We know you’re doing the best you can, but still, there are areas in your mouth storing plaque and tartar are nearly impossible to reach on your own.
Professional teeth cleanings help control the amount of plaque and calculus in your mouth. A regular cleaning schedule can significantly reduce your chances of developing cavities and gum disease.
How Often Should I Get My Teeth Cleaned?
Your dentist will provide a personalized recommendation for how often you should get your teeth cleaned.
- If you’re a healthy person that is less likely to develop cavities or gum disease, we may suggest a cleaning every 6 to 9 months.
- If you’re at a higher risk of developing gum disease or cavities, you could look into having your teeth cleaned more often.
What To Expect in Your Teeth Cleaning
Staying informed about the cleaning process may help you better enjoy your fresh, plaque-free smile!
The Physical Exam
A dental hygienist will generally perform your physical exam, searching for concerns like gingivitis or signs of cavities using a small mirror. If there’s cause for concern, they will contact the dentist and get their opinion before proceeding.
Following the physical exam, your dental hygienist will use a scaler to rid your gum line and the spaces between your teeth of plaque and tartar.
When plaque builds up in your mouth, it can harden into tartar, and tartar can only be removed at the dentist’s office. Your hygienist may have to scrape to remove tartar build-up; this is a completely normal occurrence.
If you have a lot of tartar in one particular spot, they may need to scrape in that area for a more extended period. The “scraping” that many people refer to is formally known as scaling.
The more you brush and flush, the less build-up you’ll have on your teeth. Keep that in mind for your next appointment!
Once your scaling is complete, the hygienist will brush your teeth using a high-powered toothbrush. Although loud, it’s a great way to give your mouth the deep cleaning it deserves.
Professional teeth cleaning involves using a product that smells and tastes like standard toothpaste, but has a grittier texture. This gritty texture allows the hygienist to scrub your teeth gently.
Teeth scrubbing should only be performed by a dental professional, so kids, don’t try this at home! Too much scrubbing can wear down tooth enamel, making your teeth more susceptible to cavities and decay.
Do The Floss
Your dental hygienist is an expert flosser, so remember to pay attention and listen to their advice on perfecting your techniques. Professional flossing can get deep between your teeth, and help your hygienist find any problem areas in your gums.
Fluoride treatments help protect your teeth against cavities. Professional fluoride treatments are often in a variety of forms, like:
- Highly concentrated rinses
These treatments may be applied with a brush, tray, or mouthwash and contain much more fluoride than what’s in your toothpaste. These treatments take just a few minutes to apply. You may be asked to avoid eating or drinking for 30 minutes to help the fluoride absorb.
Professional teeth cleaning sessions are scheduled around your personalized dental needs, and these appointments may sometimes include your once-a-year dental X-ray.
If your dentist or hygienist notices anything of interest in your mouth, they may want to do other exams or treatments during your visit. You can expect open and honest dialogue about these additional procedures, and transparency throughout your appointment.
Have your teeth cleaned by a professional on a regular basis can help prevent dental problems. By having a firmer understanding of the cleaning process, you may feel more relaxed at your dentist appointments and even look forward to your visits.