You already brush your teeth twice a day. Your dentist has recommended professional teeth cleaning and you’re wondering what it’s got that you aren’t already doing. The first thing to know is that no matter how well you clean your teeth at home, that professional cleaning will achieve what your regular routine can’t – and it will supercharge the results you get when you combine the two.
Here’s what a professional teeth cleaning consists of:
First, We Look
Although your dentist might undertake the cleaning process, it is usually done by an oral hygienist. But an oral hygienist or dental hygienist still knows how to go about looking for trouble, so before he or she dives into the cleaning process, there’s a little visual check-up. If trouble is spotted, the hygienist might call on the dentist to take a closer look.
Scaling the Gum Line
Plaque tends to collect around the gum line, and if it gets old, it hardens into tartar. Oral hygienists use a scaler to scrape away accumulated tartar (which won’t brush off) and plaque that your toothbrush missed in all the nooks and crannies around your teeth.
Scaling isn’t painful, but most people find the scratching, scraping sensation a little irritating. The greater the amount of hard tartar you have on your teeth the longer the process takes, and although your brush can’t remove tartar, it’s a sign that you could be a little more careful with your regular brushing and flossing.
Cleaning with a Gritty Compound
Now that al the tartar has been removed, it’s time to clean every surface of your teeth with professional equipment. The hygienist uses a paste with a slightly gritty texture. It won’t do for everyday use, but for biannual cleanings by a professional, it’s safe for your teeth. This cleaning of your teeth polishes them up beautifully.
Now for the Floss
The dental hygienist uses ordinary floss to clean away the last debris from between your teeth. If he or she suspects that your flossing technique might be lacking, this could be accompanied by an explanation of how to floss properly. If you get one, don’t feel embarrassed. A lot of people don’t floss properly.
Rinse and Apply Fluoride Treatment
Like any teeth cleaning, the professional version is finished once you’ve rinse out your mouth to get rid of the last of the cleaning debris. Now, it’s time for your fluoride treatment. At it’s most simple, this consists of a special fluoride paste that is dispensed into a disposable mouthpiece which fits over your teeth.
The treatment stays on for a minute or two and then it’s time to rinse out your mouth once again. Fluoride helps your teeth to repair themselves, so it’s worth completing this part of the process. Sometimes, a fluoride varnish is used.
You Walk Out with a Smile
For many of us, this will be the best part of the teeth cleaning process. Although our teeth haven’t been bleached, they’re as clean as they can be, and unless they’re discoloured or badly stained, you get an extra confidence boost. But the real benefits of a professional cleaning occur at a microscopic level. Your teeth a free from the build-up of plaque and bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease – and that’s good news for your oral health.