Having regular checkups with your dentist is important for your oral health. These biannual check ups usually involve having your teeth cleaned and having x rays taken of the inside of your mouth. But, if you are like most people, you may have come to dread teeth cleanings. However, most teeth cleanings are simple and painless. So, to help calm any apprehension you may feel towards having your teeth professionally cleaned by a dentist this article is about taking you through the process step by step. Sometimes, just knowing exactly what to expect can help ease the stress. Please read further as we explain how dentists clean teeth.
The Teeth Cleaning Procedure
Obviously, cleaning procedures may vary from office to office, but most dentists follow a similar method while teeth cleaning. As mentioned above, due to a large number of people who have dentist phobias or anxieties, we feel it is important to have a full understanding of what a typical dentist visit will look like.
First, the dentist will examine the inside of your mouth. The dentist is looking at the overall appearance of your teeth, and especially for the presence of plaque and tartar. Then, using an instrument called a scaler, the dentist removes plaque and tartar from the surface of the teeth, in between the teeth, and near the gumline. There are two kinds of scalers, manual and ultrasonic. It is a small hooked tool and which one that is used depends on how much buildup the patient has on their teeth. The manual scaler feels like scraping teeth, and the ultrasonic scaler uses water and vibration to remove large deposits of plaque and tartar.
Then, the dentist will move onto polishing and flossing teeth. The dentist will use a hand held electric tool to polish the surface of the teeth. This tool has a rubber prophy cup and toothpaste that feels very gritty. This toothpaste is called prophylaxis paste, and it also removes stains on the surface of the teeth. The patient will experience a soft grinding motion on the teeth during this process. It doesn’t hurt to have this done, so rest easy knowing that. After the polishing is done, the dentist will floss the patient’s teeth so that any remaining buildup is removed.
Next, the patient will receive a flouride treatment. Some offices let the patient decide the flavor of the fluoride gel that is placed inside of a rubber mouthpiece and then put inside the mouth. The patient will be required to leave the fluoride gel in place for a specific amount of time. After this, x rays of the inside of your mouth might be taken. You should feel no pain with either of these procedures, but the x rays may be uncomfortable, but fast. Please be aware that certain factors may make a teeth cleaning more uncomfortable than usual, or even painful in some cases. If the patient has a large amount of tooth decay, inflammation of the gums may cause discomfort. If the patient went longer than the recommended time in between cleanings there may be more discomfort for the patient. Finally, any jaw pain due to temporomandibular disorders can also contribute to a more uncomfortable teeth cleaning. The bottom line though, is that typical teeth cleanings are not supposed to cause pain. Please communicate any pain immediately to your dentist so they can address it.