Dental cleaning is a simple and professional painless teeth cleaning process, one which deals with the plaque and tartar which just does not get fully removed when you brush at home. The process also helps prevent gingivitis, gum disease and cavities.
An appointment will include tooth scaling and polishing, and be completed by a fluoride treatment. It might also include investigative x-rays.
Occasionally, depending on what is found, further examinations may be undertaken. But, so that you know what to look forward to, here's a simple and swift six-step guide to a standard professional dental cleaning.
The initial examination
A dental hygienist, or a dentist, will make use of a small mirror to carry out a detailed examination of your mouth. This helps identify conditions such as gingivitis or possible infections. This initial examination helps confirm that it's okay to work through the other stages.
The removal of both tartar and plaque
The first of these is a mineral build up which is easy to spot when it's situated above your gum line. Plaque is a clear sticky film, which can contain harmful bacteria. The hygienist will use an implement called a scaler to scrape this away from between your teeth and around your gum line.
Professional clean using toothpaste
Making use of a high-powered electric toothbrush, which does make a slight grinding noise, your dental hygienist will complete a deep clean of your teeth. The toothpaste used is usually more gritty than what you would use at home, allowing for a gentle (and often rather satisfying) scrubbing of all your teeth. You wouldn't want to regularly use such a harsh toothpaste at home, as frequent use would reduce the layer of enamel, but it's perfect for a bi-annual polishing.
Completing a deep-down flossing
You may floss regularly at home (you should). This time, however, the hygienist is carefully removing any remnants of plaque or the toothpaste to make sure your teeth are, and feel, really clean. This process also helps to deal with any hard-to-reach trouble spots that could lead to bleeding gums.
A thorough rinsing
Usually involving a rinse containing liquid fluoride, this is a final way to remove any remaining minuscule debris from the professional cleaning process.
Adding a fluoride treatment
This process delivers a protective layer, helping to avoid the formation of cavities over the next few months. You might be offered a choice of flavours before a layer of sticky paste or foaming gel is applied to a mouthpiece.
This is then carefully placed in your mouth and left in contact with your teeth for around a minute or so. Then fluoride varnish can be painted onto your teeth; this hardens in contact with saliva, so you can eat or drink (healthily of course) as soon as the process has been completed.
Molar sealants may be recommended for young patients to prevent cavities in hard-to-reach parts of their mouth.
If you don't like the scraping away of plaque and tartar, as described above, a commitment to proper and regular brushing and flossing helps avoid this build-up. Of course, carrying out effective dental hygiene processes at home means that the bi-annual visit for an examination becomes just a part of an effective routine.