Brushing our teeth and flossing twice a day is an important preventative measure to help keep teeth and gums healthy. Despite following this regimen, plaque, tartar buildup and teeth stains can still form over time. As part of a standard dental checkup, teeth cleaning targets these factors beyond what you can do at home with a toothbrush.
Patients are recommended to schedule a teeth cleaning every six months. Including a dental exam and X-rays, these visits help remove tartar, plaque deposits and can prevent gingivitis and tooth decay long term. When you come for a dental cleaning at Smile Dental Center, here’s what you can expect.
Removal of Plaque and Tartar
Saliva causes tartar and plaque to accumulate in your mouth, inviting bacteria to thrive by the gumline. The first step in halting this process is to remove plaque and tartar. Your dentist will use a tool called a scaler to remove deposits near the gumline and between teeth. A combination of traditional and ultrasonic instruments helps target these areas without irritating gums.
Following these methods, the dentist will spray your teeth and gums with a stream of water to dislodge and wash away any remaining deposits. This process has a secondary benefit: When you get home, the smooth surface of your teeth allows brushing and flossing to have more of an impact! Depending on the amount of tartar and plaque, you may have a traditional cleaning or a deep clean.
This next step is to brush your teeth, but not like you do at home. Once the dentist removes all tartar and plaque, a heavy-duty electric toothbrush is used with thicker toothpaste to remove stains and continue the deep-cleaning process. The dentist uses this combination to scrub your teeth and get rid of additional tartar.
Your dentist will look for any areas where your gums might bleed and remove these deposits using a smaller scaler and curettes. This process also continues to get rid of any plaque and toothpaste from the previous steps.
Rinse and Fluoride Treatment
Unlike your average mouthwash, you will be given a solution containing fluoride to rinse away everything in your mouth and clean your teeth fully for a fluoride treatment. While common among children, not all adults will get a fluoride treatment; those susceptible to cavities can benefit from it.
If fluoride is recommended for you, the dentist will add a foam-like gel to a mouthpiece designed to fit over your teeth. You will hold this tray between your teeth for roughly one minute before it’s removed. Patients may also have fluoride painted onto their teeth, where it will harden. You may be asked to wait a certain amount of time before eating and drinking again.
Experiencing pain after a recent teeth cleaning? We see same-day emergency visits!