The decision to get professional teeth cleaning without a dental exam will largely depend on whether you are a new patient or existing.
Hygienists are not a single entity, meaning they work in partnership with the dentist. For you to have your teeth professionally cleaned, you will need to get a comprehensive dental examination to check the condition of your jaw. You also need to have your dental records on file for easy access.
If you are a returning patient, however, you may not need a comprehensive assessment such as an x-ray. You can have the exam and the dentist’s teeth cleaning on different days.
But, before the hygienist cleans your teeth, a physical dental examination must be done. The process of getting professional dental cleaning involves:
Our hygienist will begin the process by checking your gums and teeth. Using a small mirror, the dentist will examine your gums for bleeding and pimples, which are signs of infection and inflammation. If any problem is detected, the hygienist or dentist will recommend further testing to check the severity and if there is any damage to the jaw.
Using a small mirror and a scaler, the hygienist removes the plaque accumulated on the gum line, underneath and in between the teeth. The scaler produces a scrapping sound that can be scary, but you will not feel any pain or discomfort.
The dentist will apply toothpaste that has a gritty consistency on the teeth to scrub them. An electric toothbrush is then used to brush the teeth and remove any debris, and later the teeth are rinsed. Although it may be harsh, the toothpaste will not damage the enamel. However, it is only used only twice a year. Because of the nature of the toothpaste, you are advised to avoid using harsh products at home because you may wear out the enamel.
Expert flossing is done to clean deep into the teeth and remove any plaque that may be left. The process also allows the dentist to examine in between the teeth and spot any problems that were hidden underneath the plaque buildup.
The final step of professional cleaning is a fluoride treatment.
Fluoride is a natural cavity fighter and it strengthens the enamel to make it less prone to cavities. The process involves the application of varnish, gels, and foam on the teeth and leaving it for about 30 minutes for the teeth to absorb the mineral. You are advised to avoid eating or drinking (unless it’s varnish) about 30 to 60 minutes after the treatment. Children above six years can also get fluoride varnish.
The frequency of the fluoride treatment every three, six, or twelve months or as advised by the dentist.
After the physical examination and cleaning, the dentist may recommend further testing or treatments. If you are at risk of developing cavities, the dentist may recommend dental sealants or other preventive dental treatments.
Teeth whitening may also be recommended if you have stains and discoloration. A professional teeth cleaning can remove the stains on the teeth, but if you have severe discoloration, teeth bleaching may be ideal.
Good dental hygiene is essential for preventing gum infections and decay. Here are a few basic oral practices that you can add:
Visit Yelena Popkova, DDS for more information on professional teeth cleaning and how you can protect your teeth from decay and infection.