Dental Hygiene Association

Healthy Teeth, Healthy Life


Dental Care What Happens During a Routine Cleaning?


Regular dental cleanings are an essential part of maintaining good oral health. During these appointments, dental hygienists use various tools and techniques to remove plaque, tartar, and stains from the teeth, leaving them clean and healthy. Let’s delve into what happens during a typical dental cleaning to better understand the process and its importance.

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Introduction to Dental Cleanings

Dental cleanings, also known as prophylaxis, are typically performed by dental hygienists. These professionals are specially trained to care for your teeth and gums, ensuring they remain in optimal condition. Cleanings are usually recommended every six months, but your dentist may suggest more frequent visits depending on your oral health needs.

Ultrasonic Scaler: A Key Tool

One of the primary tools used during a dental cleaning is the ultrasonic scaler. This device utilizes ultrasonic vibrations and high-pressure water to remove plaque, tartar, and stains from the teeth. The scaler is gentle yet effective, making it suitable for patients with various levels of buildup on their teeth. Dental hygienists adjust the settings of the ultrasonic scaler based on the amount of buildup present, ensuring a thorough cleaning without causing discomfort.

Hand Instruments for Precision Cleaning

In addition to the ultrasonic scaler, dental hygienists also use hand instruments to clean the teeth thoroughly. These instruments come in various shapes and sizes, allowing hygienists to access different areas of the mouth with precision. Whether cleaning the front or back teeth, specific instruments are chosen to ensure all surfaces are thoroughly cleaned. By using a combination of ultrasonic scalers and hand instruments, hygienists can remove plaque and tartar from even the hardest-to-reach areas of the mouth.

Polishing Techniques for a Gleaming Smile

After removing plaque and tartar, the dental hygienist will polish the teeth to give them a smooth and shiny appearance. This is typically done using a polishing paste applied with a rotating brush or cup. The polishing process helps remove surface stains and gives the teeth a polished finish. Alternatively, some dental offices may use an air polisher, which sprays a fine stream of baking soda to gently remove surface stains. Regardless of the method used, polishing leaves the teeth looking clean and refreshed.

Flossing and Oral Cancer Screening

Once the teeth are cleaned and polished, the dental hygienist will floss between the teeth to remove any remaining debris and ensure the spaces between the teeth are clean. This also allows them to check for any areas of concern, such as tight spaces or signs of gum disease. Additionally, the dental hygienist will perform an oral cancer screening, examining the tongue, gums, and other soft tissues of the mouth for any abnormalities. This screening is an essential part of preventive dental care, as early detection of oral cancer can significantly improve treatment outcomes.

Conclusion: Importance of Routine Dental Cleanings

In conclusion, routine dental cleanings play a crucial role in maintaining good oral health. By removing plaque, tartar, and stains from the teeth, dental hygienists help prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues. Patients who undergo regular dental cleanings are more likely to enjoy healthy teeth and gums for a lifetime. Therefore, it is essential to prioritize dental cleanings as part of your overall oral care routine to ensure a healthy and beautiful smile for years to come.


Importance of Routine Dental Cleanings

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