Even if you are a stringent follower of a daily dental hygiene routine that involves brushing, flossing, and rinsing twice a day, it is a must to visit a dentist once in 6 months for a professional checkup. Unless you suffer from serious dental concerns such as cavities, inflamed gums, gum disease, etc., a dental checkup essentially involves a dental cleaning.
If you are someone who experiences dental anxiety or phobia, knowing about what to expect during a dental cleaning can minimize anxieties. So here’s what goes on in a dental cleaning:
- Teeth and gum examination
The dentist or dental hygienist will first conduct a thorough examination of your teeth and gum to understand how he or she needs to go about the cleaning and to check if there are any pockets of tartar.
The dental expert then uses a tool called a scaler that has a hook-like feature that helps eliminate tartar and plaque from the surface of teeth, between teeth, and on the gum line. While manual scalers are the most common – of which you can feel the scraping, ultrasonic scalers are used for severe conditions but only feels like a gentle vibration.
Next, a gritty toothpaste is used to polish the teeth using a handheld electric brush. Since the noise made by the tool is slightly louder, it may feel invasive, but this step of the treatment is a great way to conduct deep cleaning post the scaling.
Flossing during your routine dental checkup is essentially the same as the flossing you do at home; the main difference is, this time, it is done by an expert to remove residual tartar as well as the paste used in the previous cleaning step. You are then made to rinse your mouth to get rid of any debris using a mouthwash that contains liquid fluoride.
- Fluoride Treatment
Some dental offices also offer a fluoride treatment that involves applying a foamy gel to a mouthpiece and having it on for about a minute. Fluoride is a preventative measure that helps fight cavities for many months.
Dental cleaning may cause discomfort to a few patients because of its invasiveness. However, it is a must to ensure that one does not suffer from serious dental issues such as tooth decay or gum disease, which can be a lot more painful and would require more invasive procedures to resolve. So, visit your dentist every six months for a thorough dental cleaning.