It is generally recommended that a patient comes in for a teeth cleaning twice a year, or once every six months. This procedure ensures our team can keep an accurate and updated record of how their patients at-home oral care practices are proceeding. While we clean your teeth, we will discuss with you which cleaning techniques are working and what may need more attention.
It’s important to note that there isn’t any excessive discomfort or pain associated with teeth cleaning unless at-home oral care has been neglected.
What to Expect
Teeth cleanings are a part of most routine dental visits and usually begin with a physical exam that helps us assess the current state of your oral health and hygiene. Our team may use a mirror or other tools to check your gums and teeth for any signs of gingivitis, indicated by inflamed gums, or any other concerns. During the entirety of the visit, we will talk with you about what is being done, why, and the status of your teeth and gums.
We will then use our tools to remove any build-up of plaque or tartar that we find on your teeth. A device called a scaler is used to break up and eliminate any tartar and plaque. The excessive build-up of plaque – which can be removed through excellent flossing, brushing, and customary dental visits – is what becomes tartar, and tartar is something that you can only have removed during your time at the dentist. So, it’s important to be diligent when cleaning your teeth!
Next, we will brush your teeth with a high-powered electric toothbrush, which may make some slightly alarming noises, but is nothing to be worried about. The toothpaste that we use will be very similar to typical toothpaste, but has a texture that is a bit grainy. This sandy texture is meant to polish your teeth, but is a procedure that is too strong to be conducted on your teeth regularly. The use of this particular toothpaste is safe during your twice-a-year cleanings, but more consistent use would wear away the enamel on your teeth. Enamel is the hard outer layer of your teeth that protects against tooth decay.
After your teeth have been thoroughly brushed, the next step is flossing. This professional flossing allows us to further inspect for any problem areas and guarantee that you’re taking the time to floss at home as well. Any leftover plaque or tartar will also be removed. Throughout the entire teeth cleaning, you will be allowed to rinse your mouth out with water to wash away any remaining taste or leftover debris.
One of the last possible steps during a teeth cleaning is a fluoride treatment. These help your teeth combat cavities for as much as a couple of months and come in the form of flavored foam, gel, or paste. Either the gel is set in a mouthpiece that is placed in the patient’s mouth for a period of time – roughly a minute – or it is applied with a cotton swab or brush and can take up to a few minutes. After the application of fluoride, we ask you not drink or eat anything for a minimum of thirty minutes to allow your teeth to absorb the fluoride fully.
Importance of Teeth Cleaning
Routine teeth cleanings are essential as both a diagnostic and preventative step to exceptional oral health. While our team is cleaning your teeth, they can take note of issues that may lead to problems further down the road. Removal of plaque and tartar, teeth polishing, stain removal, fluoride application, and other practices serve as an additional form of protection against serious potential problems like gum disease.
If you have any questions about our procedural teeth cleanings or would like more information, contact our Portland, ME office today!