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What Exactly Is a Dental Teeth Cleaning?

Dentist cleaning patient's teeth

Dental teeth cleanings are one area of dentistry that many patients don’t fully understand. They might not know why these cleanings are so important. Given that they can’t see inside their own mouth during the cleaning, they probably don’t know exactly what’s going on either.

However, there’s no mystery around dental teeth cleanings. They serve as an integral component of preventative dental care and should be a part of your (at least) annual routine.

What Happens During a Dental Teeth Cleaning?

When you visit your dentist for a regular cleaning, they’ll go through a simple set of steps. The cleaning is a relatively quick procedure. While many patients don’t enjoy sitting in the dentist’s chair for any amount of time, cleanings are well worth it.

The first step to any dental teeth cleaning will be an examination of the patient’s teeth and mouth. In most dental practices, this step will be carried out by a trained dental hygienist who can easily identify key signs of gingivitis or other dental issues.

If there are any issues, then the dentist will determine whether they’re likely to interfere with the cleaning. In some cases, it could be more prudent to spend the visit dealing with that particular issue, rather than the cleaning.

When there isn’t any reason to delay the cleaning, the dentist will move on to the next step. During this step, they will remove plaque and tartar from your teeth. Plaque is a film of bacteria that is continually growing on your teeth, and tartar is hardened plaque.

While regular brushing plays a big role in dealing with plaque, dental teeth cleaning is much more effective and can address hardened tartar deposits. This part of the cleaning is done with a tool called a scaler that scrapes the deposits away.

Once the plaque and tartar have been addressed, the dentist will clean the entire surface of all teeth with a professional brush and toothpaste. The electric dental brush does a great job of cleaning and polishing your teeth.

After that, they’ll carry out professional flossing to deal with hard-to-reach crevices between your teeth. This deals with plaque that might have accumulated in the nooks and crannies that you’re unlikely to reach while flossing at home.

The last of the cleaning will be a fluoride treatment. This fluoride treatment can give you lasting protection against cavities for months. The fluoride gel is applied to a mouthpiece that is then placed over your teeth and left to sit for a minute.

Those are the steps for a general dental teeth cleaning, but your dentist could use the visit to deal with other procedures as well. If you need dental X-rays, they’re often done at the same time as cleaning for convenience.

Why Are Dental Teeth Cleanings Important?

For most patients, dental cleanings are recommended every six months, although this can vary if you have any kind of specific dental condition. Keeping up with teeth cleanings is an incredibly important part of maintaining your dental health.

Having regular dental teeth cleanings helps prevent a number of common dental health issues. Cavities and tooth decay are less likely when regular cleanings are maintained.

The initial evaluation of your teeth and mouth before the cleaning can catch many dental issues early on. By identifying cavities, gingivitis, infections, and other problems earlier, you’ll have a wider range of treatment options, and complications are less likely.

Regular dental teeth cleanings also help keep your smile looking great. The plaque and tartar buildups that these cleanings deal with can cause serious damage to your teeth over time. This affects both how your teeth look and their durability.

They can also help prevent bad breath. Plaque is one of the primary causes of bad breath, with a large number of bacteria causing an unpleasant odor. By eliminating plaque deposits, dental teeth cleaning helps keep your breath fresh.

Establishing regular cleanings as part of your dental routine is a great long-term plan. Your teeth can develop a wide range of issues over your lifetime, and preventative care is critical to getting the most out of them.

Schedule Your Dental Teeth Cleaning Today

If you haven’t been receiving regular teeth cleanings, now is the right time to start. You can schedule a teeth cleaning with the Dental Implant and Aesthetic Specialists of Atlanta right away. Our skilled team is led by Dr. Brett Langston, providing the highest level of dental care. Just contact us today to get started.