What Happens During a Teeth Cleaning?

Grand Rapids Family Dentist

What Happens During a Teeth Cleaning?

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What Happens During a Teeth Cleaning Grand Rapids, MI

The best way to protect your smile is to schedule a teeth cleaning with our dentist every six months. This way, we can catch gum disease and tooth decay in their early stages, saving you time and money as well as potentially saving your smile.

However, many people put off going to the dentist for their regular teeth cleaning due to fear or anxiety. In fact, it’s estimated that somewhere between 9% and 20% of Americans struggle with dental anxiety.

Knowing what to expect can help some patients overcome their fear and anxiety. Let’s take a look at what typically happens during a teeth cleaning appointment so you can feel prepared and confident in booking your next appointment.

1. Oral Examination

Once you sit in the dentist’s chair, one of our hygienists will examine the inside of your mouth for obvious signs of tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues. Depending on when your last dental X-rays were taken, we may take new ones.

If our hygienist sports a serious problem, they may pause the teeth cleaning to ask our dentist how to proceed. Otherwise, they’ll continue on to the next step.

2. Plaque and Tartar Removal

Plaque is an invisible film of bacteria on the surface of your teeth that increases your risk for tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health problems. If you neglect brushing and flossing your teeth, plaque will build up over time and eventually harden into tartar.

During your dental cleaning, our hygienists will use a special tool called a scaler to gently scrape away plaque building on your teeth. Although brushing and flossing can remove most plaque at home, only a dental professional can remove tartar from your teeth. It’s yet another reason why it’s important to see our dentist every six months.

If you notice the hygienist taking longer than usual to scrape away plaque and tartar, this is a sign that you should be taking better care of your smile. The better care you take of your teeth, the less plaque and tartar we’ll find during your dental cleaning.

3. Polishing

Our dental hygienist will ask you which flavor of toothpaste you prefer, such as bubble gum, vanilla, or mint. The toothpaste we use is different from what you use at home because it’s gritty enough to polish the surface of your teeth. We also use a high-powered toothbrush. While the toothbrush may sound like a drill, don’t worry — it doesn’t hurt.

4. Flossing

After brushing and polishing your teeth, our hygienist will floss your teeth. This way, we can remove dental plaque hiding between your teeth and along your gum line.

5. Checking in with Your Dentist

After your teeth cleaning, our dentist will come in for a final inspection of your teeth and bite. If any oral health issues were discovered during your visit, he’ll be able to explain your options. Our dentist will also be more than happy to answer any questions you have about your oral health at this time. Once you’ve checked in with our dentist, we’ll set up your next appointment six months out.

Schedule Your Next Teeth Cleaning Today

Our Grand Rapids, MI, preventive dentist can help you maintain a beautiful, healthy smile with a regular teeth cleaning every six months. Call Precision Family Dental today at (616) 207-1280, or contact us online to request your next appointment.

This blog post has been updated.