Cleaning your teeth can be uncomfortable, feel embarrassing, or sometimes be just plan scary. Between the jaw discomfort, scraping, prodding, and strange noises, it is completely normal to be a little apprehensive about it. Regardless, routinely getting your teeth cleaned is an essential part of your dental health and hygiene. Being aware of exactly what happens when you go in for a cleaning can be a great way to ease your nerves about the whole thing.
First, your teeth will undergo a physical exam, usually by a dental hygienist who performs the entire procedure. A small mirror is used to check around your gums and teeth for if there are any signs of gingivitis (inflamed gums) or other things to be concerned about. A tool called a scaler is then used to remove the tartar and plaque around the lining of your gums and in between your teeth. This is when you will hear the scraping sound. The more tartar there is, the more scraping you will experience.
Once your teeth are tartar-free, they are brushed with an electric brush that makes a grinding noise. It might sound scary, but it is the easiest way to get a good clean and pick up anything the scaler left behind. The toothpaste used has a gritty texture so that it can scrub your teeth gently. If done safely, this process can be done twice yearly without damaging your teeth.
The final few steps include expert flossing, rinsing, and a fluoride treatment. No matter if you floss every day, nothing quite beats a professional flossing. The hygienist can reach those hard to reach spots you sometime miss and remove any leftover plaque or toothpaste from earlier in the cleaning. Your mouth is then rinsed to get rid of anything that was left behind during the whole process. The last step is a treatment that is used to protect your teeth and fight cavities until your next treatment. Voila! Clean teeth!