What Happens During a Professional Teeth Cleaning?

Have you ever wondered what actually happens during a professional teeth cleaning? Dental cleanings are more than just maintaining a bright smile; they’re essential for our oral health. During a professional teeth cleaning, plaque and tartar are effectively removed from our teeth, which helps prevent cavities and gum disease.

From the moment we sit in the dental chair, hygienists use specialized tools and techniques to ensure our teeth are thoroughly cleaned. This includes scraping off hardened plaque, polishing the teeth, and sometimes applying fluoride treatment to protect against decay.

By understanding the process and techniques used in professional teeth cleaning, we can better appreciate its importance and feel more comfortable during our dental visits. Knowing what to expect not only helps ease anxiety but also ensures that we maintain a consistent, proactive approach to our oral health.


Key Takeaways

  • Professional teeth cleaning removes plaque and tartar.
  • Specialized tools and techniques ensure thorough cleaning.
  • Knowing the process helps ease anxiety and promote oral health.


Understanding Professional Teeth Cleaning

Professional teeth cleaning is vital for maintaining oral health, preventing cavities, and avoiding gum disease. These cleanings involve the removal of plaque and tartar that regular brushing cannot achieve, and they play a crucial role in our overall dental hygiene routines.

The Importance of Routine Dental Cleanings

Routine dental cleanings are essential preventive dental care measures. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends visiting the dentist at least twice a year for these cleanings. Regular teeth cleanings help to remove plaque and tartar buildup, which can lead to cavities and gum diseases if not addressed.

During a routine dental cleaning, a dental hygienist or dentist will thoroughly clean and examine our teeth. This process not only improves oral health but also allows early detection of potential dental issues. The ADA emphasizes that maintaining regular dental appointments helps in preventing advanced dental problems and promotes better oral hygiene.

Types of Professional Teeth Cleanings

There are various types of teeth cleanings, each aimed at addressing different levels of dental health needs. The most common type is the prophylaxis cleaning, typically performed during routine dental visits. This type of cleaning is meant for patients with generally healthy gums and teeth, focusing on the removal of surface plaque and tartar.

For those who have not had a cleaning in a while and exhibit signs of gum disease, a more intensive cleaning called scaling and root planing might be required. This procedure involves deeper cleaning to remove plaque and tartar below the gumline. Lastly, periodontal maintenance cleanings are ongoing treatments for patients who have undergone scaling and root planing, ensuring their gums and teeth remain healthy over time.


The Teeth Cleaning Procedure

Professional teeth cleaning involves several key steps to ensure our oral health is maintained and improved.

Initial Oral Exam

The process begins with an initial oral exam. Our dental hygienist will examine our mouth using a small mirror and a dental probe to check for signs of gum disease, cavities, or any other oral health issues. This preliminary check helps in identifying areas that need special attention during the cleaning procedure and ensures that our cleaning is thorough and effective.

Plaque and Tartar Removal

Next, we address plaque and tartar removal. Using a scaler or an ultrasonic scaler, the dental hygienist removes accumulated plaque and tartar from around our teeth and gum line. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that can lead to gum disease if not removed regularly. Tartar, which is hardened plaque, can only be removed by professional tools. This step is essential to prevent cavities and promote healthy gums.

Teeth Polishing and Flossing

Once the plaque and tartar are removed, our teeth need polishing and flossing. A gritty toothpaste and a high-powered electric brush polish our teeth, making them smooth and shiny. This helps eliminate surface stains and makes it harder for new plaque to form. After polishing, the hygienist will floss between our teeth to remove any leftover debris. This step ensures that our teeth are thoroughly clean and free of any remaining particles.

Fluoride Treatment and Final Steps

The final step of the teeth cleaning procedure is the fluoride treatment and final steps. A fluoride treatment is applied to the teeth to help strengthen the enamel and protect against cavities. This can be in the form of a gel, foam, or varnish. After applying the fluoride, the hygienist may provide additional oral health advice tailored to our needs. This may include tips on brushing, flossing, and maintaining our overall oral health.

By walking through these steps, we ensure a comprehensive and effective teeth cleaning experience, promoting better oral health and hygiene.


Advanced Dental Cleaning Techniques

Professional teeth cleaning involves advanced methods that target deep-rooted issues. These techniques are essential for maintaining oral health, particularly in managing and treating gum disease.

Scaling and Root Planing

Scaling and root planing is a comprehensive cleaning procedure targeting both the surface and the roots of teeth. During scaling, we remove plaque and tartar from the tooth surface and below the gumline. This process often requires a combination of manual tools and ultrasonic instruments to ensure all deposits are thoroughly eliminated.

Root planing smooths out the roots of teeth, making it harder for bacteria to reattach. This smoothing process encourages reattachment of the gums to the teeth, promoting healing and reducing gum pockets. Due to the depth of cleaning involved, a local anesthetic is usually administered to minimize discomfort.

Periodontal Disease Management

Periodontal disease management involves various strategies to control and treat gum disease. Early stages may only require regular professional cleanings and better home care practices.

For more severe gum disease, we might employ antimicrobial treatments alongside scaling and root planing. Antibiotic gels or oral medications can target bacterial infections. In advanced cases, surgery may be necessary to reduce deep gum pockets and reshaping of gum tissue and bone.

Effective periodontal disease management is crucial for preventing tooth loss and maintaining overall oral health. Regular follow-up visits and diligent home care are essential components of ongoing treatment.


Maintaining Oral Health Between Visits

Maintaining oral health between dental cleanings is essential. We must focus on daily home care routines and the importance of periodic dental checkups.

Regular Home Care

Brushing and flossing regularly is crucial to prevent plaque buildup and cavities. We should brush our teeth at least twice a day using fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. It’s essential to brush for at least two minutes, ensuring we cover all areas, including hard-to-reach spots.

Flossing once a day helps remove food particles and plaque between teeth and along the gumline. We should use a gentle but thorough technique to avoid harming our gums. In addition to brushing and flossing, incorporating an antimicrobial mouthwash can help reduce bacteria and maintain fresh breath.

Nutrition plays a significant role in oral health. We should limit sugary snacks and beverages, opting for balanced meals rich in vitamins and minerals. Drinking plenty of water helps wash away food particles and decreases the risk of tooth decay.

Periodic Dental Checkups

Regular dental checkups are vital for early detection of potential issues. We should schedule visits at least twice a year, even if we feel our teeth are in good condition. These checkups allow the dentist to provide a thorough cleaning and examine our teeth and gums for signs of decay, gum disease, or other problems.

During these visits, professional cleanings remove plaque and tartar that regular brushing cannot handle. This process helps prevent cavities and gum disease, keeping our oral health in top shape. Dentists also provide personalized advice on improving oral care routines based on individual needs.

If any issues are detected, early treatment can prevent more severe problems. It’s important to follow through on any recommended treatments or follow-up visits to ensure ongoing oral health.



📞 Contact Kaufman Dentistry Today

Give us a call at (310) 838-7780 to schedule your appointment and take the first step towards a stunning smile.

You can find us at 10760 Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232. We look forward to welcoming you to our practice and helping you achieve the smile of your dreams!



Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, we address common concerns about professional teeth cleaning, including discomfort, terminology, process specifics, duration, and cost.

Why does dental cleaning sometimes cause discomfort?

Discomfort during a dental cleaning can arise from several factors like sensitive gums, existing inflammation, or the use of high-pressure water. Personal pain thresholds vary, so what one person finds mildly uncomfortable, another might find more intense.

What is the proper term for a dental cleaning performed by a dentist?

The proper term for a dental cleaning procedure performed by a dentist is “prophylaxis.” This term refers to the preventive treatment intended to clean the teeth and maintain oral health.

Are there any drawbacks to getting a professional teeth cleaning?

While generally beneficial, potential drawbacks can include temporary tooth sensitivity or gum irritation following the cleaning. These side effects are usually mild and resolve quickly. Frequent cleanings beyond professional recommendations may also wear down enamel over time.

How is high pressure water used in dental teeth cleaning?

High pressure water, often delivered via a tool called a scaler, helps effectively remove plaque and tartar from teeth surfaces. This process can enhance cleaning efficiency but may feel intense for those with sensitive teeth or gums.

What is the expected duration for a professional dental cleaning session?

A typical professional dental cleaning session lasts between 30 minutes to 1 hour. The exact duration can vary based on individual dental health, presence of plaque or tartar, and the thoroughness of the cleaning required.

What is the typical cost range for a professional teeth cleaning service?

The cost for a professional teeth cleaning service generally ranges from $75 to $200. Factors influencing the price include geographic location, dental office pricing policies, and whether additional treatments like fluoride applications are included.