What to Expect at Dental Cleaning

In Dental Health by Dr. Mathew Palmer

Cleaning teeth is not only necessary for clean teeth, but also for a healthy mind and body.
We need teeth cleaning to prevent diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes problems, as well as to maintain the use of our teeth.

A professional teeth cleaning successfully prevents plaque and tartar build-up. This build-up is normal in any mouth — think about how a boat acquires more barnacles the longer it is in the ocean. Yet prolonged accumulation contributes to gum disease.

There are lots of things people don’t know about teeth cleanings. Here’s what you should expect from your next teeth cleaning, so that you can feel more relaxed when taking your spot on the reclining chair.

A check up

Many dental cleanings last approximately 30 minutes to an hour and are done in a comfortable dental chair in a reclining position. The dental hygienist will start with a physical examination of your whole mouth before the real cleaning begins. Looking for any symptoms of gingivitis (inflamed gums) or other possible problems, the dental hygienist uses a small mirror to look around the teeth and gums.

Removing plaque and tartar

Next, the hygienist uses a scaler to eliminate the plaque and tartar around your gum line. Plaque is the bacteria that develops in and around your teeth in your mouth. It can cause cavities and gum disease and soon turns into tartar if it is not extracted. Although you can extract plaque by brushing and flossing, tartar can only be removed by a dental professional.

You may hear scratching noises during this stage–that’s completely normal. How long it takes depends on how much tartar is built up on your teeth. If you have gingivitis, your gums may bleed after the removal of tartar.

Gritty tooth polish

Now it’s time to polish your teeth. The hygienist does not just use any form of toothpaste for this procedure. They will use a toothpaste with extra grit to help polish your teeth thoroughly and help remove the excess plaque or debris.

To administer the toothpaste, your dental hygienist is going to use a high-powered electric toothbrush, notorious for the loud noises from the dentist’s office. It’s important to remember that it is a painless procedure and the noise is essential in order to do the best job of polishing off your teeth.

Flossing time

A flossing completes the cleaning process. Your dental hygienist will be able to get down between your teeth and find any areas where you might be bleeding in the gums. A professional floss such as this cleans your teeth and often eliminates any residual plaque or toothpaste in the cleaning process from earlier.

Fluoride treatment

Fluoride treatments are used to reinforce the teeth’s enamel and can be found in the form of a foam, gel or liquid. The dental hygienist will put the fluoride in a mouthpiece and place the mouthpiece into your mouth. You normally leave it on your teeth for just a minute. Alternatively, your hygienist might use a small brush to apply the fluoride directly to your teeth. When in contact with saliva, fluoride varnish hardens quickly, so there is no need to refrain from eating and drinking after your cleaning.


Using a mouthwash at the conclusion of your teeth cleaning is a final step in dislodging bacteria or plaque, meaning you can also leave the office with fresh-smelling breath.

Does a teeth cleaning hurt?

Many dental patients find it painless procedure. The pressure experienced during “scraping” normally doesn’t cause pain. To order to make your teeth cleaning more comfortable, it is important to let your dentist know if the cleaning is starting to cause distress, so they can prescribe alternatives.

Palmer Dental

Professional teeth cleaning treatments are the preferred method to preventing and treating periodontal disease, maintaining the health of your teeth, and developing a brilliant white smile. Contact us today to find out more about our dental cleaning or to schedule an appointment.