Mann Family Dental
A Great Dentist

Teeth Cleaning Basics

May 19, 2014
Posted By: Dr. Russell D. Mann
toothbrush next to other dental tools

You should be seeing your dentist every six months for a professional teeth cleaning appointment. Here are some answers to questions you may have before your cleaning.

If I brush, floss and rinse every day, why do I need to get my teeth cleaned?

The short answer: Your toothbrush and floss can’t do it all.

Even the most diligent brushers can’t wholly prevent plaque from building up on their teeth. Plaque is extremely sticky, and when it isn’t taken care of it can cause tartar, which is hardened dental plaque. Every once in a while (every six months!) everyone needs a professional dental hygienist to remove any tartar that has formed, and to get to the plaque in those hard to reach places.

What Happens during a Teeth Cleaning Appointment?

When you arrive for your appointment, you’ll meet your hygienist and will be escorted back to an exam room. He or she will answer any questions you may have and will also ask if you have been experiencing any ongoing or immediate problems with your mouth. Then the hygienist will start by removing all of the tartar and plaque from your teeth. Using fine hand tools, they will carefully and painlessly scrape the surfaces of your teeth, just like you might take a scrubbing brush to a dish, making sure all the areas are clean and smooth.

After that the hygienist will inspect your gums, checking for inflammation and also measuring your gum pockets. This measurement is to check for signs of periodontal disease. A small probe will be inserted into the space between your tooth and your gum to measure how deep the cuff of the gum is. This is measured in millimeters, and your hygienist can go into detail about what these numbers mean.

Then your teeth will be polished. Using a handpiece with a soft spinning rubber cup on the end, your hygienist will make your teeth shiny and smooth. The paste used with this tool is called prophylaxis paste, and it will feel like a gritty toothpaste.

Depending on your age, and the state of your teeth, you may also receive a fluoride treatment at your teeth cleaning appointment. Fluoride is a mineral that helps to strengthen your teeth. Your hygienist will place flavored fluoride gel or foam into trays and place them on your teeth for about 30 seconds. Then you’ll be able to rinse and spit out the excess.

Will There Be Any Pain?

There is commonly little to no pain involved in a routine teeth cleaning. Of course, if you already have problems with your mouth and are in need of a deep cleaning you could experience more discomfort than others. But as long as you brush and floss regularly, there should be no pain at all.

How Long Does it Take?

A routine cleaning takes about 30 minutes to an hour.

If you have any questions about teeth cleaning, feel free to call our office at (603) 716-9812. And follow us on Facebook and Pinterest for more helpful posts about dentistry.

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