What is a Teeth Cleaning?
A teeth cleaning is a process performed by our dentist to eliminate plaque and tartar buildup on your teeth. This process is also essential to detect and correct oral health issues, like gingivitis and cavities. It not serves to detect and prevent problems early on but also leaves you with a brighter smile.
Getting a professional teeth cleaning is important because:
It helps Detect and Prevent Gum Disease. Gum disease damages the bone and gums that keep your teeth in place. If plaque buildup is left unattended, it hardens and turns into tartar. This harmful buildup can’t be removed by regular brushing and flossing: it requires a professional cleaning to get rid of it. The more tartar and plaque are left untreated, the more damage your teeth will experience. Your gums will start to swell, turn red, and even bleed, signaling the presence of gingivitis. If you don’t seek a dentist's assistance, the gums will begin pulling away and form pockets around your teeth. These pockets can easily get infected and, the longer this problem persists, the more damage it will cause.
It provides Protection against Tooth Decay: Cavities damage the enamel that protects your teeth. This happens when the gums and teeth are not properly cared for, bacteria starts to grow and form a colorless and sticky film known as plaque. If not immediately taken care of, this plaque buildup gradually results in cavities and tooth decay. This can be prevented and treated by our dentist through the teeth cleaning process.
Our dentist follows a series of simple steps to perform the teeth cleaning process. They are:
Consultation and Oral Examination
Your appointment begins with a quick consultation with our dentist. You will be asked about your dental history, dental procedures previously performed, your last dental cleaning, and your current teeth or gum problems. Our dentist will also conduct an oral evaluation to determine the actual condition of your teeth and look for any signs of tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease. If dental problems are identified, our dentist may suggest performing additional tests.
Plaque and Tartar Removal
After the oral examination, our dentist will start the teeth cleaning process by, first, removing plaque and tartar from your teeth. If you haven’t had a teeth cleaning in a long time, this process might take more time.
After eliminating tartar and plaque, our dentist will rinse your mouth to get rid of any debris. A gentle brushing will follow to remove any leftover tartar and plaque.
Polishing and Flossing
Next, our dentist will polish your teeth to make them smooth and shiny. Our dentist will use a grittier paste, similar to your regular toothpaste, in this part of the process. Once your teeth are polished, they will be flossed. This is a necessary step to remove debris and tartar from between your teeth and gums.
Rinse and Fluoride Application
A final rinse will come before the fluoride application. This is done for added protection and to assist in fighting off cavities. Typically, fluoride is applied on a mouthpiece that is placed on your teeth and left on for a few minutes.
Suggested Treatments and Future Appointment Scheduling
Once the dental cleaning is completed and depending on your teeth's actual condition, our dentist may suggest any necessary dental treatments. If your teeth require extra care, our dentist will discuss the treatment plan and how often you need to get treated, as well as future tests and examinations. You may schedule your next appointment at our dentist's office right away or call to find out when you can come in to get treated.
What to Do After the Cleaning?
Caring for your oral health shouldn't stop after a visit to our dental office, it needs to continue. Our dentist will suggest at-home treatments to guarantee you will enjoy good oral health. Once you have your teeth cleaning done, it is important for you to follow the aftercare advice and suggestions made by our dentist. Here are some tips that can help you improve your oral health:
Using a Mouthwash or Mouth Rinse
An appropriate mouthwash is needed to remove any debris left after a regular teeth cleaning. It is best to rinse your mouth with a mouthwash to leave it fresh and bacteria free. Our dentist recommends using an antiseptic mouthwash, once or twice daily, to eliminate bacteria and protect teeth from plaque and tartar. Choose a mouthwash that is both antiseptic and has fluoride to prevent cavities.
Use the right amount as indicated on the label
You can rinse after or even before you brush your teeth.
To get the most benefits, swish the product vigorously in your mouth for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, then spit it out.
Our dentist recommends brushing your teeth twice a day. To effectively brush your teeth:
Keep your brush at a 45-degree angle against the gum line. Brush gently in the area where your gums and teeth meet.
Avoid harsh brushing as it can be harmful to both your gums and teeth.
Brush all of your teeth in the same way.
Make sure you brush the back of both your top and bottom teeth.
Always brush your tongue, as well as your palate, using a forward-sweeping motion.
Brush your teeth for a full two (2) minutes.
It is also essential to visit our dental office for regular routine checkups and for teeth cleanings at least twice a year.
Our dentist recommends flossing at least once a day, after brushing. Flossing regularly is important to remove plaque and other debris caught between your teeth, plus it will help your professional teeth cleaning and polishing last longer. Here are some useful flossing tips:
Always start by flossing your upper teeth, then floss the lower ones.
Use your index finger to put the floss strip between your teeth. Avoid pushing hard as it can harm your gums.
Use the clean part of the floss strip on the other teeth.
The flossing strip should be about 18 inches long.
Ensure that you hold the strip tightly. The best way is to wind it around the middle fingers of both hands.