So you’re set for your dental cleaning. You get comfortable in the chair, open wide and they begin. Yes, they clean your teeth, but did you ever wonder what exactly they’re doing in there? Most of us hope the visit is as short as possible so we can get out of there and on with our day, but for the hygienist who’s job it is to get you cleaned and out the door, it’s a whole different story.
One of the first things they do when they have access to your mouth is to investigate their area of play, if you will. This includes looking for signs of decay, counting teeth, and using their little probe and angled mirror, check all the nooks and crannies. They are also looking for signs of gum swelling or redness and they’ll measure the depth of gingival pockets. If these are deep and the gums are red then you may have gingivitis. They will also check how your bite aligns, how your teeth come together and look for evidence of tooth grinding. Most of these exams also include them checking your jaw, your cheeks, tongue and neck for any swelling or unusual findings.
Then it’s time for the cleaning itself. First a scaler is used which scrapes the plaque and tartar off of the teeth both above and below the gum line. A hygienist may also use a vibrating device to shake the plaque off of the teeth and once they’re done, a nice cool stream of water is applied to get it all off the teeth and out of your mouth. Scaling can take a while depending on the amount of plaque you have collected, which is where proper brushing and flossing at home make a big difference.
Now your teeth are polished with a fancy toothbrush and a slightly abrasive paste which makes the tooth surfaces smooth and harder for bacteria, and in turn plaque to adhere to. Once they are done, another gentle spray of water gets your mouth refreshed and you’ll finally be allowed to swish and spit.
Somewhere in amongst the dental cleaning may be X-rays, depending on how long it has been since your last set was taken. These are virtually painless and the risk is very low. They simply have you bite down on a plastic divider, leave the room and presto, they have a picture. And your cleaning visit will be in the books.
It is essential to commit to a regular dental cleansing program in order to ensure the health of your teeth. Plan to visit your dental hygienist twice per year in order to prevent issues like cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Advanced gum disease can lead to tooth loss and this can easily be prevented with a regular cleansing program. A professional clean includes tooth scaling and polishing followed by a fluoride treatment. Between cleanings, practicing a good oral hygiene program is key. By brushing frequently and flossing daily, you will prevent the accumulation of plaque. Call to book your cleansing treatment with our hygienists today!