For most people, having their teeth cleaned is simple and painless. Yet, many still have misgivings about this basic and very important procedure. The prodding and poking, strange noises, and occasional jaw discomfort may cause a little apprehension, but knowing what will happen during the process can help ease your stress.
Our dental hygienists perform our teeth cleanings. They begin by doing a physical exam of your entire mouth. Using a small mirror, they check your teeth and gums for inflamed gums (gingivitis) and any other potential concerns. If a major problem is detected they will consult with Dr. Moffitt before proceeding.
Polishing your teeth will remove any plaque that remains after the tartar has been removed. The teeth may be polished with a special abrasive toothpaste with a high-powered brush that gently scrubs each tooth, or they may be polished with a concentrated spray of air, water, and a very fine powder. Polishing will leave the surface of your teeth smoother so that plaque has a harder time accumulating. Polishing should be done by a professional and only twice a year to avoid wearing down the enamel.
SCALING AND ROOT PLANING
The next step is to remove any plaque and tartar. Almost everyone has some degree of tartar. It forms when plaque builds up on your teeth and hardens. For many people, this is the uncomfortable part of the cleaning. The hygienist uses a hand scaler or ultrasonic scaler to clean the tartar from the tooth surface and, depending upon the amount of tartar on your teeth, this can take some time. You can decrease the amount of time it takes to remove tartar by using good brushing and flossing habits at home, which prevent the plaque from hardening into tartar. Once you have tartar on your teeth the only way to remove it is with a professional cleaning. A more advanced deeper cleaning may be necessary if more tartar is evident and bone loss has occurred creating dental pockets.
We get deep down between your teeth to remove any hidden plaque or toothpaste leftover from the cleaning process. Even if you floss regularly at home we perform a thorough flossing in our office to locate potential trouble spots where your gums might bleed.
A good rinsing is the final step. Then enjoy the clean, polished feel you only get after a visit to the dentist!
OTHER POTENTIAL PROCEDURES
We may perform x-rays, depending upon the visit and any concerns that are raised during the cleaning. We also offer fluoride treatments and sealants to protect your teeth and help fight against cavities.