Routine dental cleanings are important to maintaining good oral hygiene. A professional cleaning by a hygienist can remove mineralized plaque that may develop even with careful brushing and flossing, particularly in areas that are difficult to reach. It is recommended you go in for a cleaning once every six months.
How it’s done
You can expect your dental cleaning to last between 45 minutes to an hour. A trained hygienist performs the cleaning, and the dentist will come in for an exam at the end. Most people find that dental cleanings are painless and do not cause any discomfort.
There are two important steps to a dental cleaning:
The first step is scaling the teeth, whereby the hygienist will remove the plaque and tartar from the tooth surfaces. This can be performed by hand or with electric scalers depending on the hygienist and patient’s preference. The hygienist will also clean the pockets of the gums to remove any plaque buildup.
The second step is polishing to remove any final plaque and buff the teeth. Fluoride treatments are recommended for children and select geriatric patients. The hygienist will then provide home care instructions as well as recommend certain brands of toothpaste, toothbrushes and floss all tailored to the patient’s needs.