Professional teeth cleaning is a procedure aimed at preventing tooth decay and gum disease. Dentists and dental hygienists perform professional teeth cleaning at the dentist’s office, usually alongside a comprehensive dental exam.
The American Dental Association recommends visiting a dentist “regularly” for a cleaning. For some people, the best frequency will be every 6 months or so.
If you are at a higher risk for gum disease, you may need to visit a dentist more frequently. You may be at a higher risk for gum disease if you have diabetes, smoke tobacco or have a family history of gum disease.
What happens during a teeth cleaning
During a dental cleaning tartar and plaque are removed from your teeth. Your dentist or dental hygienist will clean the most difficult to reach areas of your mouth using special instruments to scrape off stubborn plaque. They will also clean the spaces between your teeth with a special flossing technique and instruments.
The hygienist may use an instrument called a Prophy-Jet, which uses water, abrasive powders, and pressurized air to remove plaque, soft debris, and stains. They’ll rinse out your mouth at the end.
Next, your teeth are polished. Your dental professional uses a rotating head with a dental paste to shine your teeth up to their squeaky clean best.
Finally, a fluoride treatment may be done. Fluoride is used to prevent cavities, a dentist or dental hygienist may apply a fluoride treatment to your teeth. This fluoride treatment may be a paste, a gel, or a varnish.
At the end of the cleaning, they may speak with you about proper dental hygiene and recommend products for keeping your teeth healthy at home.