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From Start to Finish: Your Regular Dental Cleaning

We’ve all had a dental cleaning done before (and if not, you’re way overdue to see a dentist) but do you really know what they’re doing while you’re in that chair? There are several components and steps that go into a dental cleaning, and we’re breaking down the entire process from start to finish.

Before we dive in, it’s important to be aware that it is totally normal if your dentist probably doesn’t actually perform your dental cleaning. This is where our amazing dental hygienists shine! Our hygienists are trained specifically to perform cleanings and are great at what they do.

Photo by Yusuf Belek on Unsplash

1. Dental Exam

Your dental cleaning will begin with an exam of your entire mouth and all of your teeth. This is the part when your dental hygienist uses a tiny mirror to examine your teeth and gums. What he or she is really doing is looking for signs of gingivitis. If your teeth and gums look healthy, your hygienist will proceed to the next step. If your gums are inflamed or swollen, they may call in your dentist for a second look. 

2. Plaque and Tartar Removal 

Next, comes the removal of plaque and tartar. This is an essential step of a dental cleaning and leaves your teeth feeling squeaky clean. Again, your hygienist will use the same mirror and a scalar to rid the gum line of plaque and tartar. The scalar makes a scraping sound as it is used to scrape away all the bad stuff and can cause a bit of soreness if you have a lot of plaque and tartar on your teeth. However, this step should be a breeze if you brush and floss twice daily!

3. Clean and Polish

During this step your hygienist uses a gritty toothpaste, sometimes mint or bubble gum flavored, and a special electric toothbrush to polish the surfaces of your teeth. But don’t let the sound of the brush frighten you, this part is painless ( it might even tickle a little). Keep in mind that this kind of cleaning is safe to do once or twice a year but is too harsh to be done more often than that and should only be done by professionals in a dental office. 

4. Floss

The fourth step to a thorough dental cleaning is flossing. Dental hygienists are expert flossers and will be sure to remove anything that might have been missed during the plaque and tartar removal step. If you notice that your gums bleed during this step, it’s likely a sign that you should start flossing more often at home. 

5. Rinse 

This is the final step of your cleaning. Your hygienist will give your mouth a thorough rinse to rid of any toothpaste or debris leaving your mouth feeling extra clean and fresh.

Now that you know the steps of a dental cleaning, we hope you feel prepared for your next visit. Missed your last cleaning? You can easily set up an appointment on our website