Frequently Asked Questions About Teeth Cleanings and Exams
Daily brushing and flossing go a long way towards preventing cavities. However, there is no substitute for professional dental cleanings. Dental professionals recommend that both children and adults see their dentist for a checkup and cleaning every six months. Routine cleanings not only get your teeth clean and polished but also lower your risk of future decay and gum disease.
What Happens During a Teeth Cleaning?
Teeth cleanings are often associated with unpleasant prodding, strange noises, and the occasional jaw discomfort. In reality, a modern cleaning is a simple, painless procedure that lasts less than an hour. Understanding what happens during a teeth cleaning can help ease any fears or hesitation you may have about going to the dentist.
1. Oral Physical Exam
A standard teeth cleaning generally begins with a physical exam performed by a dental hygienist. Your dental hygienist will use a small mirror to examine your teeth and gums to check for signs of decay, gingivitis (inflamed gums), or other oral health concerns.
2. Plaque and Tartar Removal
Next, your hygienist will use a scaler to remove plaque and tartar from the gum line and in between the teeth. It’s normal to hear and feel some scraping against the teeth during this procedure. The more you brush and floss at home, the less plaque and tartar you’ll need to have removed.
3. Deep Gritty Toothpaste Cleaning
Once plaque and tartar have been removed, your hygienist will brush your teeth with a gritty toothpaste and a high-powered electric brush. The electric brush will create a grinding noise, but the process should not be painful.
4. Teeth Flossing and Mouth Rinsing
The toothpaste cleaning is followed up by an expert flossing session. This will help remove any leftover plaque between the teeth. Finally, you’ll be asked to rinse your mouth to get rid of any debris. This rinse may contain liquid fluoride to help strengthen your teeth.
In some instances, your dentist may recommend a fluoride treatment. This type of treatment can help protect your teeth against decay for several months. A fluoride treatment typically consists of a foamy gel placed into a mouthpiece and left on the teeth for about one minute. Alternatively, a fluoride varnish can be painted on the teeth.
Why Visit Your Dentist for Teeth Cleanings?
Teeth cleanings are an essential component of good oral hygiene. Professional cleanings can also provide patients with a wide range of benefits, such as cavity prevention. Plaque buildup on the teeth can result in tooth decay. Coupled with daily brushing and flossing, cleanings can help prevent cavities.
Regular teeth cleanings can also reduce or eliminate bad breath. Bad breath is caused by an accumulation of bacteria in the mouth. Cleanings help kill bacteria to achieve an overall healthier mouth and fresher breath. Other benefits of teeth cleanings include a boost to your overall health and a brighter, whiter smile.