The cleaning is often one of the most dreaded parts of a patient’s dental visit. However, by understanding it a little bit better, you may find that there isn’t anything to be concerned about and also realize the importance of getting regular cleanings.
A tooth cleaning is broken down by dental hygienists into six different parts. We’ll discuss each and give a brief description of what they include.
A Physical Exam – Before your hygienist starts to do anything to your teeth, they conduct a physical exam. They use a small mirror to look for any immediate issues. This includes gingivitis, significant plaque buildup, and noticeable tooth loss or damage.
Remove Tartar and Plaque – Your hygienist will then use the small mirror and a scraper tool (scaler) in order to remove some of the loose buildups of tartar and plaque. You’ll generally hear the scraping sound, but this is not an uncomfortable process. The more accumulation that is on your teeth, the longer this process may take.
Gritty Toothpaste Cleaning – In a professional medical setting, a gritty toothpaste is safe to use twice a year. If you try to do the same procedure at home though, you risk damaging the enamel of your teeth. Your hygienist will use a special electrical toothbrush and professional cleaning toothpaste in order to clean and polish your teeth.
Expert Flossing – As your hygienist completes your flossing, they are looking for any spots that may be susceptible to bleeding on the gums and making sure to remove any of the buildups that were left behind from brushing.
Rinse – Now that your teeth have been cleaned and polished and most of the debris has been manually removed, the rinse helps to remove all the fine plaque or buildup that didn’t come out before. The rinse helps to ensure that your mouth is as clean as possible.
Fluoride Treatment – Fluoride treatments help to add a protective layer to your teeth to continue to protect them and keep them cavity-free. Fluoride hardens when it contacts saliva, so you can consume food and drink immediately after your appointment.