Knowing what this process looks like can help put your mind at ease. So, what exactly happens during a cleaning visit? While there may be some slight differences, most steps remain the same.
The Cleaning Process
An oral exam is the first step. The hygienist will check for potential concerns such as inflamed gums (gingivitis), dark spots on teeth, cracks on enamel or uneven tooth wear. Those concerns will be relayed to your dentist for closer inspection. As long as it’s safe to proceed, your procedure begins.
Your hygienist will use a small mirror and scaler (a hooked tool used for scraping) to loosen and remove tartar and plaque from between your teeth and around your gumline. Tartar is hardened plaque that builds up and is usually hard to remove. Once that tartar hardens, it can only be removed during a professional cleaning. The best way to minimize this build-up (and make your hygienist job easier) is frequent brushing and flossing. In extreme cases, an ultrasonic scraper might have to be used instead of a manual one.
Once the tartar has been removed, the hygienist will brush your teeth with an electronic brush. This provides a more thorough clean and picks up any remaining tartar that still may be loose, having escaped the scaler. The toothpased used is a prophylaxis paste. It smells and tastes like regular toothpaste (You get to choose the flavor too!), but you’ll notice its grainer and gritter. This helps scrub the teeth even better. Twice a year is the best schedule to have this deep cleaning done. Any more frequent could damage the enamel, though your dentist will advise you of the most appropriate schedule for you.
Next, is everyone’s favorite task, flossing. Don’t worry the hygienist will do it for you. Do know there may be some light bleeding. The more you floss at home, the less sensitive your gums will be in our office. This flossing removes the rest of the plaque and any leftover toothpaste. At last, you’ll rinse and probably be given a liquid fluoride.
This liquid fluoride is a treatment that ideally will help protect your teeth from cavities for a few months. Again, different flavors are usually available. If its not liquid, it may be a foamy gel or past that will be put into a mouthpiece to cover your teeth. You’ll hold this in your mouth for one minute. A final varnish will be applied to your teeth and your appointment is almost done. You should be able to eat or drink shortly after leaving the office, within 30 minutes.
Before leaving the chair, your dentist and hygienist will likely take one last look for any issues that may have missed, as well as talk to you about any necessary follow-up care or exams. Children may also receive molar sealants to protect hard-to-reach areas from cavities. Make sure you schedule your next cleaning before leaving the office and use that new toothbrush twice a day. Regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing are the keys to easy dental appointments.
Frequently Asked Questions about Teeth Cleaning Columbus, Indiana [IN]:
Is teeth cleaning painful?
Cleaning itself may not be painful, though thats not to say that it can’t be uncomfortable at times. Factors that may determine how much discomfort you’ll experience include:
- – Dental sensitivity (inflammation of gums, tooth decay, and gum disease)
- – Jaw pain (due to some disorders)
- – Time since your last cleaning
- – Complexity of your mouth (do you have fixtures like permanent retainers or dentures to work with/around)
If any of these apply to you, let your hygienist know. Also, if you experience pain during the cleaning, please say so. We can take more frequent breaks and may have ways to lessen the pain.
What is deep cleaning?
Deep cleaning differs significantly from a regular cleaning. It involves root planning and scaling and is used to keep periodontal disease under control. Without this treatment, one could experience tooth and bone loss.
How should I take care of my teeth after the cleaning?
To keep your smile bright and healthy, it’s important to:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste, after meals, or when you first wake up and before going to bed.
- Floss your teeth at least once a day
- Rinse your mouth every day with a fluoride or bacteria-killing mouthwash (it does not have to be alcohol-based)
- Replace your toothbrush every 2-3 months (of after an illness).
Rinsing your mouth with water after each meal and snack is also recommended. Some dentist will even recommend a sugar-free gum as a way to keep a healthy, clean mouth. Whenever you notice any dental problems, contact our office right away.
What will happen if I do not clean my teeth regularly?
Our mouths are full of bacteria. While some can be beneficial to our health, others are extremely harmful. When bacteria collect and build up on your teeth, they release acid that can lead to serious problems, such as inflamed gums, damaged enamel, tooth decay and loss, and periodontal disease. To avoid these dental issues, for your sake, please take good care of your teeth every day, as well as schedule regular dental cleaning visits.
Remember that dental cleanings keep your mouth healthy and are only necessary twice a year. They can help you avoid issues that are costly and procedures that can be painful. It’s worth the investment in time and money!
Are teeth cleanings covered by insurance?
Most insurance plans offer two free teeth cleanings ever year. Nevertheless, it is important to always check with your insurance provider and learn about your dental coverage.