Many people consider professional teeth cleaning a very painful or critical procedure, mostly due to the videos they have seen online or the sounds they might have heard waiting outside their dentist’s clinic. Despite the strange noises of the tools or the visual discomfort, you may have heard or seen, the procedure is very simple and, in most cases, painless.
Professional teeth cleaning is highly recommended among all age groups, especially for adults. Maintaining good oral hygiene is very important but often that may not be enough to keep plaque and tartar away from your teeth and gums. Professional cleaning not only gets rid of plaque and tartar but also polishes your teeth and helps fight against plaque building for the next few months.
So what is professional teeth cleaning and what you should know about the process? Let’s take a look.
Before any proceedings begin, your dental expert will take a look at your teeth and gums for any inflammation, damaged enamel, bleeding gums, or any significant condition like Gingivitis and Periodontitis. Once it is determined safe, the professional will go ahead with the procedure.
The very first step is to locate the plaque between your teeth and on them. Using a small mirror (with a long handle), the dentist will do a thorough exam of your teeth, insides, and outsides. Usually, it takes between 15 to 20 mins to scrape the plaques unless one has developed some hardened plaque over time. Scraping usually creates a typical sound but the procedure is absolutely safe and doesn’t harm the enamel or the gums.
To scrape the plaque and the tartar, a tool called ‘Scaler’ is used. A scaler can be manual or ultrasonic. In case of any hardened plaque, an ultrasonic scaler is used for scraping. An ultrasonic scaler will give you a faint sensation due to its vibration but no pain or discomfort at all.
After removing the plaque and the tartar, the dentist will use a high-power electric toothbrush and a professional toothpaste (prophylaxis) for scrubbing. The toothpaste is kind of gritty and comes in several flavors. Using the high-power toothbrush any leftover tartar or plaque is completely removed from the enamel. The brush creates a grinding sound which often makes people scared of the whole process, however, it is completely safe and you will not feel anything apart from a faint grinding sensation.
Depending on your dental condition, your dentist might give you professional flossing. If you floss your teeth regularly you might not need professional flossing. However, professional flossing does not harm, rather it provides thorough and deep flossing which you might not be able to perform yourself at home.
The polishing and flossing process often includes a fluoride gel which also comes in different flavors. This gel is applied on the inside of a mouthguard or mouthpiece which the patient needs to wear for a minute or so. This fluoride treatment will provide an added protection from plaque building in the next few months. After the process is completed, you need to rinse your mouth with a fluoride liquid or water.
Typically professional teeth cleaning lasts for 25 to 35 minutes and is completely painless. In some exceptional cases, if you have inflated or extremely sensitive gums, there may be some bleeding while cleaning any hardened plaque. The bleeding is not dangerous and it doesn’t give any significant pain.
In other cases, the dentist usually recommends an X-ray of your teeth to determine the severity of your particular condition. Often, children are prescribed molar sealants to prevent any plaque building and recommended special toothbrushes to clean hard-to-reach areas.