It’s not uncommon for patients to feel anxious about sitting in the dentist’s chair. However, getting your teeth checked by a dentist every six months is the best way to safeguard your smile.
If it’s been a while since you’ve last been to the dentist, we hope you’ll benefit from our guide of what to expect during a teeth cleaning. It has always been our goal to help patients feel informed and confident while seeking dental services.
1.) Physical Exam of Entire Mouth
A dental hygienist will start by examining your entire mouth for any issues that should be passed along to your family dentist. During this time, the hygienist will check your teeth and gums with a small mirror for any tooth decay, plaque, gum disease, or other dental problems. If a serious problem is discovered, the hygienist may ask the dentist if it’s okay to continue with the dental cleaning.
2.) Plaque and Tartar Removal
While brushing and flossing your teeth at home removes most dental plaque and tartar, nothing beats the thoroughness of a professional teeth cleaning. Your dental hygienist will use a mirror and a special tool called a scaler to gently scrape away plaque hiding in between teeth and near the gum line. We recommend scheduling an appointment with your dental office every six months so plaque on teeth is removed before it hardens into tartar.
3.) Cleaning with Gritty Polishing Toothpaste
The dental hygienist will use gritty toothpaste to polish your teeth. You will be asked to pick out your favorite flavor toothpaste, such as bubblegum or vanilla. Next, the hygienist will use a special high-powered brush to polish your teeth. The toothbrush will make a loud whirring noise that can sound like drilling to some patients. While polishing your teeth is too abrasive to do more than every six months, it is safe to do during your dental appointment.
While you might already floss at home, the hygienist offers a more thorough flossing. They make sure to get beneath the gum line to remove hidden plaque and bacteria. They will also be able to detect where gum bleeding occurs and remove any remaining debris from the previous steps.
After your professional teeth cleaning, you’ll be asked to rinse so any residual toothpaste, plaque, or other debris is flushed from your mouth.
Your dentist may also take x-rays of your teeth and jaw to ensure there are no cavities or other issues. Certain x-rays, like panoramic x-rays, need to be taken every few years. However, the frequency of dental x-rays will depend on your own oral health. Once you are done with your teeth cleaning, your dentist will come in to do the final checkup. If no problems are found, you’re all set. You’ll be asked to set up your next dental exam and teeth cleaning in six months time. Teeth cleaning side effects include having a beautiful healthy smile. Some patients may experience bleeding gums if there are other oral health issues going on.
Our Grand Rapids dentist at Complete Health Dentistry has dedicated his career to helping patients achieve beautiful healthy smiles. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment for an oral exam or dentist teeth cleaning, give our dentist in Grand Rapids a call at (616) 458-7267.