Every six months or so you should have regular dental teeth cleaning done. This is often a simple and pain-free procedure (especially if it is done regularly). Your regularly scheduled cleaning will help you to maintain an amazing smile and will keep your teeth and gums clean. If you haven’t been in a while, it may feel stressful to schedule an appointment. You also may be putting your appointment off because you are worried about discomfort. While there may be mild discomfort, thirty minutes to an hour every six months is much better than the pain and discomfort that comes with gum disease and tooth decay from skipping visits.

The Dental Cleaning Process

If it’s been a while since your last dental cleaning, you may be unsure of what the process looks like. The first step of the process is an oral exam. A dental hygienist will take a look at your mouth and check for dark spots, inflamed gums (gingivitis), and other potential problems. If there are any issues that pop up, the dentist will take a second look. After this, your dentist will begin the cleaning itself.

Your dental hygienist will utilize a scaler and a small mirror. The scaler is a small metal hooked tool that is used to remove plaque and tartar from around your gums and in-between your teeth. Sometimes an ultrasonic scraper is used instead of a manual one. Tartar is hardened plaque and is more difficult to remove. To avoid a tartar buildup, make sure to brush and floss properly and regularly. More tartar means more time spend having it scraped off.

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Once the tartar has been removed from your teeth, your dentist will start to brush your teeth with an electric brush. This brush is different from the one you may have at home, as it is higher speed. The electric brush is used to remove any remaining tartar and provide a deeper cleaning. The toothpaste used is also different. This toothpaste is a cleaning prophylaxis paste that can come in different flavors. While it smells and tastes like regular toothpaste, it is grittier and grainier. This helps with scrubbing your teeth. Your teeth will then be polished. This is only done twice a year to avoid damage to the enamel of your teeth.

After the brushing comes flossing. Your dental hygienist will get between your teeth and floss. You may bleed a bit if you don’t floss regularly. You will be able to take breaks if needed, and your dentist will rinse your mouth frequently. Flossing removes any leftover toothpaste and plaque. After the flossing, your dentist will do a final rinse, in which you will be given liquid fluoride.

The fluoride treatment you receive helps to protect your teeth from cavities for at least a few months. You may get to choose a flavor. Sometimes the fluoride comes in a sticky paste, and other times it may come in a foamy gel. This is put in a mouthpiece that covers your teeth. It will be there for about a minute or so. Once the mouthpiece has been removed, you’ll have fluoride varnish applied to your teeth. This will harden quickly. You’ll be able to eat and drink right after.

If your dentist finds any issues or irregularities during your cleaning, they will perform additional exams. For children, molar sealants may be used to protect hard-to-reach areas.

The cleaning process goes a lot quicker and easier if you brush and floss properly and regularly at home. It also makes it less painful or painless. Brush in the morning and at night, preferably after meals. Also, floss at least twice a day. Make sure you keep your cleaning appointments to maintain good oral health.

Frequently Asked Questions about Teeth Cleaning Indianapolis, Indiana [IN]

Are teeth cleanings painful?

While they may be a little uncomfortable, generally teeth cleanings aren’t painful. With that said, the level of pain or discomfort depends on a few things…

  • Jaw pain due to disorders
  • Sensitivity that comes from inflammation, gum disease, or tooth decay
  • How long it’s been since your last scheduled cleaning

If you need a break or are in pain/discomfort during your cleaning, let your dentist know. There may be ways to lower the amount of discomfort you are feeling and reduce any pain to make the procedure more comfortable.

What is deep cleaning?

Deep cleaning is for patients that have a higher level of need. This type of cleaning helps to control periodontal disease. The deep cleaning process involves scaling and root planing. Keep in mind that bone and tooth loss is due to not getting the treatment required. If you don’t have your regular cleaning in the books, schedule it.

How should I care for my teeth after the cleaning?

In order to maintain your oral health, there are a few things you’ll want to do. These include:

  • Brush and floss every day, twice a day (brush for at least 2 minutes at a time)
  • Rinse your mouth daily with fluoride or bacteria-killing mouthwash
  • Change out your toothbrush every 2-3 months (or if you get sick)
  • Rinse out your mouth after meals and snacks

If you find that you are having any dental issues, make sure you schedule an appointment. You don’t want to let those issues get any worse

What if I do not get my teeth cleaned regularly?

What you may not realize is that your mouth has a lot of bacteria in it. While some forms of bacteria are beneficial, others can cause a lot of damage. As this bad bacteria accumulates, it releases acid that damages your teeth and gums. In turn, this can lead to damaged enamel, inflamed gums, tooth decay, periodontal disease, and tooth loss. Make sure you take good care of your teeth to avoid these issues and get your teeth cleaned regularly.

Are teeth cleanings covered by insurance?

Teeth cleaning is an extremely common procedure, and if you have dental insurance, it is more than likely covered.