What to Expect
What to Expect at Your Dental Cleaning
Everyone needs regular dental cleanings regardless of how thorough your oral hygiene routine is. These regular visits to the dentist’s office give your dental professional ample opportunities to detect issues like gum disease, tooth decay, and oral cancer before things get out of hand. But what happens during a dental cleaning?
A professional cleaning helps you get rid of tartar. Tartar is hardened plaque, and it provides shelter for living oral bacteria. Oral bacteria turn sugar into acid, creating cavities and gum disease.
Dr. Winschel typically recommends two dental cleanings per year, but people who are already have issues like gum disease should get their teeth cleaned more frequently, perhaps three to four times per year. A routine cleaning session also involves an examination, meaning Dr. Winschel will keep an eye out for other issues.
Here is a closer look at what you should expect when you set an appointment for a dental cleaning.
What to Do Before a Dental Cleaning
A dental cleaning is a simple procedure, and you don’t have to do much to prepare for it. Make sure you’re keeping up on your regular oral hygiene. Then brush your teeth before your appointment. Your hygienist will do more cleaning, but a quick brush helps remove debris and lets your hygienist focus on more serious cleaning.
If you have questions or concerns, write them down or record them in a note app on your phone. During your appointment, it’s easy to forget your questions, so take this paper or your phone in with you so you remember to ask them. Dr. Winschel will also prompt you by asking about your concerns, and then you can pull out the paper or the phone.
The Professional Cleaning
During the appointment, your health history will be reviewed with you. The hygienist will provide you with an apron and protective eyewear that you can use to protect yourself and your clothes during the appointment. Your hygienist may take x-rays and intra oral photos to determine the health of your teeth. Once in place, the hygienist will begin to remove tartar off from your teeth below and above the gum line. Your hygienist might also decide to use an ultrasonic vibrating device to break up tartar on your teeth, then rinse it off with a jet of water.
After removing all the tartar and stains, the hygienist will polish your teeth with a paste. In some cases, the hygienist may use floss to clean the space between your teeth. Polishing the tooth makes it more difficult for plaque to accumulate before the next cleaning. It also helps your teeth feel clean and healthy. And it can remove surface stains, so your smile shines brighter. However, if you’re still unhappy with the color of your teeth, you can ask about teeth whitening.
Your hygienist might also decide to use a fluoride varnish to give you an extra layer of protection.
Once your teeth are all nice and clean, Dr. Winschel will conduct an examination. In the past, dentists always used a probe and angled mirror, but now we use many different types of equipment. The goal is the same: we are looking for any signs of tooth decay. Dr. Winschel will also check for any issues with your gums like deep pockets, redness, and inflammation. He will also look for signs of temporomandibular joint disorder by taking a close look at your upper and lower jaw. He will take a close look at the soft tissues in your mouth, palate, lymph glands, and neck looking for signs of oral cancer. One person dies from oral cancer every hour in the U.S., yet it is completely curable when detected early.
A complimentary toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss will be given to you!