Dental cleanings involve removing plaque (soft, sticky, bacteria infested film) and tartar (calculus) deposits that have built up on the teeth over time. Your teeth are continually bathed in saliva which contains calcium and other substances which help strengthen and protect the teeth. While this is a good thing, it also means that we tend to get a build-up of calcium deposits on the teeth. This chalky substance will eventually build up over time, like limescale in a pipe or kettle. Usually it is tooth coloured and can easily be mistaken as part of the teeth, but it also can vary from brown to black in colour. If the scale, or calculus (tartar, as dentists like to call it) is allowed to accumulate on the teeth it will unfortunately provide the right conditions for bacteria to thrive next to the gums. The purpose of the cleaning and polishing is basically to leave the surfaces of the teeth clean and smooth so that bacteria are unable to stick to them and you have a better chance of keeping the teeth clean during your regular home care.
The dental hygienist or dentist uses specialized instruments to gently remove these deposits without harming the teeth. The instruments which may be used during your cleaning, and what they feel like, are described below.
Is it going to be painful?
Most people find that cleanings are painless, and find the sensations described above – tickling vibrations, the cooling mist of water, and the feeling of pressure during “scraping” – do not cause discomfort. A lot of people even report that they enjoy cleanings and the lovely smooth feel of their teeth afterwards! There may be odd zingy sensations, but many people don’t mind as they only last a nanosecond.
Be sure to let your dentist/hygienist know if you find things are getting too uncomfortable for your liking. They can recommend various options to make the cleaning more enjoyable.
Painful cleaning experiences can be caused by a number of things: a rough dentist or hygienist, exposed dentine (not dangerous, but can make cleanings unpleasant), or sore gum tissues
How long does it take to get a cleaning at the dentist?
To properly perform a dental cleaning procedure on a patient, it basically takes approximately 30 minutes to one hour. General dental hygienists are the specialists that perform most of the basic teeth cleaning procedures in the dentist's office.
How do you keep your teeth clean?
Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day for about two minutes to help keep your teeth and mouth healthy. Plaque is a film of bacteria that coats your teeth if you don't brush them properly. It contributes to gum disease and tooth decay. Tooth brushing stops plaque building up.
How do you brush your teeth?
The proper brushing technique is to:
Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums.
Gently move the brush back and forth in short (tooth-wide) strokes.
Brush the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.