About Dental Cleanings
Even with a perfect home oral care routine, including flossing and brushing, plaque and tartar can still build up on the teeth and lead to bacterial infections, cavities, discoloration, and other problems. To ensure your teeth remain healthy and clean, everyone should have a professional dental cleaning (also known as prophylaxis or scale and polish) at least twice a year at the dentist. During a dental cleaning, the dentist will use professional tools, including ultrasonic instruments and hand tools to carefully remove the plaque and tartar that have built up on the dental enamel. Once the teeth are smooth, the dentist will polish the enamel, plus any fillings and dental work to remove stains and keep the teeth healthy. Dental exams are usually performed after the teeth have been professionally cleaned and in younger patients and those at a higher risk of tooth decay, a fluoride treatment may be included to strengthen the enamel. Regular dental cleanings are essential to a clean, healthy mouth by preventing disease and oral health concerns.
What to Expect
Dental cleanings are generally painless, but if a patient has sensitive teeth or gums a topical numbing cream can be used. If the patient has trouble getting through a dental cleaning due to anxiety or a strong gag reflex, mild sedation options are also available. A cleaning may begin with an ultrasonic instrument that helps to loosen plaque and tartar before the dentist switches to fine hand tools (scalers and curettes) to carefully scale or scrape the build up from the gumline and enamel. Once the deposits are removed from the teeth, the dentist can polish the teeth using a special toothpaste and tool. If needed, the dentist can go over good home oral care routines and help the patient with their brushing and flossing technique for better check-ups.
After the teeth are cleaned, the dentist may perform an oral exam to check for signs of oral cancer and gum disease. To keep their teeth smooth and healthy, patients should establish a home routine that includes brushing and flossing their teeth at least once a day. The dentist may offers suggestions or specific instructions, like a special mouthwash or toothpaste to treat the patient's specific concerns. Patients should be sure to schedule their next dental cleaning before leaving the office for six months or when their dentist recommends they return. Waiting too long between cleanings can lead to longer appointments and more invasive treatments.
Since a professional dental cleaning twice a year is considered a necessary preventative care procedure, most dental insurance carriers will cover 100% of the cost. Our office will check with each patient's insurance company to determine their coverage before billing the patient directly. Patients without dental insurance should ask about our financing options.
Plan Your Procedure
Clean and Polished
If you put off cleaning anything, whether it's your house, your car, or your teeth, the harder and longer the chore becomes. To get your healthiest smile, schedule a professional dental cleaning with your dentist at least twice a year. Regular dental cleanings remove plaque and tartar that have built up over time to help you avoid gum disease, cavities, and infections. A cleaning also gets your teeth whiter and brighter by polishing the enamel and removing stains. Getting a professional cleaning today to save yourself time and trouble later.