The Cleaning Process
First, is an oral exam. Open your mouth wide as a dental hygienist looks for any signs of inflamed gums (gingivitis), dark spots on teeth, or any other possible issues. If anything suspicious is noted, the dentist will take a second look. Once it is determined you are good to go, the cleaning process begins.
The dental hygienist will introduce you to two tools, a small mirror and a scaler (a small metal hooked tool). The scaler is used to remove tartar and plaque in between your teeth and around your gums. Tartar is plaque that has hardened and can be especially stubborn to remove. The best way to avoid tartar build-up is frequent brushing and flossing. The more tartar in your mouth, the longer it will take the hygienist to scrape it off. Occasionally, an ultrasonic scraper may have to be used instead of a manual one.
After the tartar has been removed, it’s time to brush with an electric brush. The brush is high speed and different than the electric brush you may have at home. This tool provides a deeper cleaning and removes any last tartar that might be left behind. The toothpaste is also different than what you are used to. It is a cleaning, prophylaxis paste that comes in different flavors. It smells and tastes like regular toothpaste, but it is grainier and grittier, than standard toothpaste. This helps gently scrub your teeth. Teeth polishing (as this is called) is safe to do twice a year. Any more can damage your teeth’s enamel.
You’re not done yet, because next is flossing. The hygienist will use dental floss to get between your teeth. If you are not a regular flosser, you may bleed a little. If that happens, don’t worry, you will get to rinse frequently, and you can take breaks if necessary. Flossing will remove any leftover plaque and toothpaste. When the flossing is complete, you’ll do a final rinse and will be given a fluid that contains liquid fluoride.
Ideally, this fluoride treatment will help protect your teeth from cavities for a few months. You will probably get to choose a flavor. The fluoride may come in a foamy gel or sticky paste that will be put into a mouthpiece that will cover your teeth. You will need to hold it for about a minute. After removing the mouthpiece, fluoride varnish will be applied to your teeth. It should harden immediately, and you’ll be able to eat or drink right away.
During any of these procedures, if your dentist or hygienist notices any issues or irregularities, they may need to order other exams. Children may also receive molar sealants to protect tough-to-reach teeth from cavities.
To reiterate, this cleaning process will be much quicker, smoother, and painless, the more you stick to a strict brushing and flossing regimen at home. Brushing after meals and first thing in the morning, flossing at least once a day, and keeping your cleaning appointments will improve your oral health and keep dental issues to a minimum.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is teeth cleaning painful?
Painful? Generally not. Occasionally, cleaning can cause discomfort, but it’s always worth it. How much discomfort or pain depends mostly on:
- Dental sensitivity (in cases of inflammation, tooth decay and gum disease)
- Jaw pain (due to some disorders)
- Time passed (how long has it been since the last cleaning).
If you are in pain, discomfort, or just plain need a break during your cleaning, please let us know right away. We may have ways to lessen the pain and make it a more comfortable experience for you.
Frequently Asked Questions about Teeth Cleaning Anderson, Indiana [IN]
What is deep cleaning?
Deep cleaning varies greatly from just a regular cleaning. It will help keep periodontal disease under control and involves root planning and scaling. Tooth and bone loss are consequences of not getting this treatment when necessary.
How should I take care of my teeth after the cleaning?
To maintain a happy health smile and avoid seeing us any more than necessary, you should:
- Brush at least twice a day for 2 minutes each time (using a fluoride toothpaste)
- Floss at least once a day
- Rinse every day (with a fluoride or bacteria-killing mouthwash)
- Change your toothbrush every 2-3 months (of after an illness).
Rinsing your mouth with water after each meal and snack is also suggested. Don’t let dental problems linger, contact our office right away, even if you think an issue is minor.
What will happen if I do not clean my teeth regularly?
Your mouth is a petri dish of bacteria. Some are beneficial to our health, while others can be extremely dangerous. When these bacteria accumulate on your teeth, they release acid that can lead to serious conditions, such as inflamed gums, damaged enamel, tooth decay and loss, and periodontal disease. To avoid these dental issues, we strongly recommend taking good care of your teeth every day, as well as scheduling regular dental cleaning visits.
Remember that dental cleanings keep your mouth healthy. Regular visits and exams can help you avoid issues that are costly and procedures that can be painful.
Are teeth cleanings covered by insurance?
Most insurance plans offer two free teeth cleanings ever year. Please check with your insurance provider and learn about your dental coverage.