what happens during a dental cleaning

What Happens During a Dental Cleaning Appointment?

While it’s normal to feel nervous about getting your teeth cleaned, there’s no need to worry. Dental cleanings are a simple, painless process that significantly reduces your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. At Sunrise Dental, we believe that knowing exactly what to expect during a dental procedure can help our patients feel more comfortable. We put together this guide explaining what happens during the dental cleaning process to help ease your dental anxiety

How Long Does a Dental Cleaning Take?

Depending on the diagnostics and treatments you need, a teeth cleaning appointment can last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. For instance, your visit may take longer if you need dental x-rays, which are necessary once a year. 

A high amount of plaque and tartar buildup can also make a teeth cleaning appointment take longer. If you have significant plaque buildup due to poor oral hygiene, you will need to take some extra time to discuss your treatment options at the end of the appointment. 

To keep your dentist visits as short as possible, make sure to brush your teeth twice a day, floss daily, and get your teeth cleaned professionally twice a year. 

What Happens During a Dental Cleaning Appointment?

1: The Initial Examination

If you’re due for dental x-rays, your dental hygienist will typically do them at the beginning of your appointment, which usually takes 5-10 minutes. Before they start the cleaning process, your hygienist will then use a small mirror to look for signs of gum disease, cavities, and other dental issues in your mouth. 

Next, your dental hygienist will let your dentist know the status of your oral health, so your dentist knows what to look for when they examine your mouth at the end of your appointment. During your cleaning, feel free to discuss any questions or concerns you have about your oral health or the treatments that your oral hygienist and dentist suggest.

2: The Teeth Cleaning Procedure

After examining your mouth, your oral hygienist will begin the process of thoroughly cleaning your mouth using specialized instruments. First, they will use a scaler, which has a hook on each end to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth around the gumline. It is normal to hear the scraping and to feel some slight discomfort during this part of the process. If you have sensitive teeth or any pain at all, let your hygienist know. 

Throughout the teeth cleaning process, your hygienist will squirt water on your teeth and gums to rinse off the debris and ask you to swish it around. They will then use a tube called a saliva ejector that sucks out the water and debris so you don’t swallow it. 

Next, your hygienist will polish your teeth using a gritty tooth polish and a high-powered brush. The whirring of the brush may be noisy, but there is nothing to worry about. You should feel no pain during this step. Plus, you might even get to choose the flavor of the polish if your dental office has more than one available. 

Finally, your dental hygienist will show you how to floss properly and gently to remove any remaining plaque from between your teeth. Then you will just need to rinse, swish, and suction out the water and debris one last time.

3: The Final Checkup

Once the teeth cleaning process is complete, your dentist will come in for a final checkup. They will examine your teeth and gums for any signs of oral cancer, gum disease, or other issues. If your dentist finds anything of concern, they will explain the problem and your treatment options. After this final checkup, you’re all set! Just don’t forget to schedule your next cleaning appointment on your way out. 

Gentle Teeth Cleanings in Peoria

Now that you understand everything that happens during a dental cleaning, it’s time to take the next step to improve your smile. The compassionate team at Sunrise Dental in Peoria, Arizona performs gentle teeth cleanings for the whole family. Call us at 623-487-4870 to schedule an appointment today. 

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (7/15/2022). Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels