How Long Does a Dental Cleaning Take?
When you schedule your twice yearly cleaning at the dentist’s office you will spend time during your appointment with both the dentist as well as the dental hygienist. The professional teeth cleaning and exam will remove plaque, tartar and even stains that build up despite your at home brushing and flossing. It is important to your continued oral and overall health to maintain your dental cleaning appointments as certain diseases can be diagnosed through certain symptoms seen in the mouth.
If you maintain your routine at home of brushing and flossing twice a day with twice yearly cleanings, you will minimize your opportunities to develop gum disease and tooth decay. You will want to invest the time and energy in your mouth to ensure your health.
When you go the dentist’s office for a routine cleaning you can expect to spend 30 minutes to an hour between the time with the dental hygienist and the dentist. During the visit the dental hygienist will remove plaque from your teeth. Your teeth are already covered in a film of saliva and the food you eat adds bacteria, acid, and small particles. The bacteria that builds on your teeth turns into plaque and the plaque that is calcified turns into tartar. The plaque and tartar can build up on the surface of the teeth as well as below the gumline. The dental hygienist will take time to remove plaque and tartar from each tooth after examining the overall health of each tooth with specialized instruments. Each instrument is designed to clean the teeth without damaging the enamel and to be used in combination with a dental mirror to address hard to see areas in the mouth.
The hygienist may choose to start the cleaning with an ultrasonic tool to loosen any tartar adhered the teeth. While the tool vibrates, it also sprays water to rinse the debris away. After the larger pieces are gone, the dental hygienist may opt to use a fine hand held tool to address the remaining buildup. The goal is to leave the surface of the teeth smooth and ready to be polished. The dental hygienist will use a rotating soft rubber cup with prophylaxis paste to leave the teeth shiny and smooth. The office may have more than one flavor of the paste before applying a fluoride treatment to your teeth.
The dental hygienist will take x-rays of your teeth for the dentist to examine, usually once a year. The dentist will come into review your complaints, history, and x-rays while inspecting your teeth for signs of decay and cavities. The dentist will check for oral cancer, gum disease and any signs of larger health issues.
From start to finish, the appointment should last less than an hour and be painless for you. Some people find the scraping portion of the cleaning to be slightly irritating to your gums but it should not cause any serious discomfort. If you find that you are in pain, be sure to let your dentist or dental hygienist know; they may have options to help you have a more relaxing experience while you take care of yourself.
After you spend a short time in a reclining chair, you should leave with a brighter, fresher smile.
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High-Quality Dental Care
At Cornerstone Family Dentistry in Chapel Hill, all our services are performed with the patient in mind. We want you to feel comfortable in the dental chair, confident in our work, and most importantly, we want you to fall in love with your smile again. If you would like to schedule an appointment or if you have any questions about cosmetic procedures that we offer, please contact us at (919) 595-1010.