Dental Visits Decoded: Cleanings

Posted on August 29, 2016 in General oral health

CleaningsHas it been awhile since your last dental visit? Having a dental professional clean your teeth helps remove plaque, tartar and stains that you can't tackle on your own. In case it's been a while since you've found yourself in a dental chair, here's what you can expect when you go in for a cleaning.

After the dentist or hygienist seats you in the dental chair, he or she will use a small tool called a scaler to scrape the plaque and tartar from your teeth. (Everyone has at least some buildup.) Some dentists use ultrasonic scalers, which break up plaque and tartar with vibrations instead. This is done to prevent the plaque from turning into tartar, which hardens onto teeth like cement and can eventually cause gum disease.

Once the plaque and tartar have been removed, your dentist or hygienist will use a tool that squirts water into your mouth to rinse the particles away. He or she will also use a tool to suck the excess water and debris out of your mouth.

Now that your teeth are plaque- and tartar-free, it's time to polish them up! Your teeth will be brushed with gritty, abrasive toothpaste that makes them shiny and smooth. The final step of the cleaning is a good, thorough flossing. After you visit the dentist for a cleaning, give yourself a pat on the back. Preventive care keeps your smile healthy and helps control costs by taking care of problems before they become more serious.

To find a Delta Dental of Illinois network dentist to schedule your next cleaning, visit our Provider Search.

Note: Procedure descriptions cover what is typically involved in a procedure; actual method may vary by dental office.