What Happens During a Dental Cleaning?

The routine dental cleaning should take place every six months to maintain your overall oral health. But if you haven't been to the dentist in a while (or ever), you may feel a little intimidated by the idea of having your teeth cleaned by a professional. Don't put off this important dental checkup because you're unfamiliar with it or its importance. Learn what will happen during the average dental cleaning to overcome anxiety and prepare for your next visit.

Full Dental Inspection

Each cleaning starts with a dental inspection. This includes xrays, gum health assessments and even a 3D wellness scan. Sometimes the hygienist will even check your saliva under a microscope to see what kind of pesky microbes are present so we can discuss your specific risk to other diseases and how to best treat you. Why not just get straight to cleaning? The hygienist gives you a check-up to assess where you are, catch damage to the gums and supporting bones, signs of tooth decay, and other problems. Some issues may need treatment before you can undergo a more routine cleaning. Cleaning your teeth without checking them first could lead to unrecognized damage, but you can rest assured that the dental hygienist will make sure you're ready for the procedure before beginning it. If the dentist needs to treat you before the cleaning, you'll likely need another appointment before completing the process.

Thorough Dental Cleaning

The dental cleaning uses a more abrasive tooth cleaning compound than you should use on a daily basis. This removes stuck-on tartar and stubborn plaque without any risk of damage to the teeth. The hygienist is trained on exactly how long to polish each tooth to get it smooth and clean without scratching the surface. The high-powered buffing brush also helps speed up the process. The dental cleaning cost will vary, but it's worth the investment in order to protect your gums and teeth from damage that could affect your overall health and wellness in the long run. There's also a special tool the hygienist can use to remove particularly stubborn plaque. The hygienist will sometimes use a scaler or even a cavitron to remove stubborn tartar or plaque. Having your teeth scaled may not be the most pleasant part of the process, but it goes quickly and will involve only minor and temporary discomfort, if any at all. If a numbing agent is needed to assist with your comfort, the hygienist will provide that as well. 


If you floss every day, you may wonder why you need the dental hygienist to do it twice a year for you. Yet the flossing you get from a trained professional who can see every part of your mouth, thanks to bright lighting, goes much deeper. You'll finally find that little bit of popcorn is gone from your molars and won't have to worry about leftover tartar hardening into plaque. It also gives the hygienist and dentist a chance to see how your gums react to careful and gentle flossing. If some areas bleed during this part of the checkup, they can give you early treatment for gum disease to ensure that the inflammation doesn't spread or progress further. You can also bring up any issues you've having with flossing at home and get tips, tricks, modifications, and a hands-on demonstration from an expert.

Further Investigation

Your Virginia Beach dentist will likely drop in at this point for another quick dental checkup. They'll tap or probe your teeth if there's any suspected damage and ensure you're not showing early signs of cavities or gum disease. This part of the checkup can go very quickly or take a little longer if the dentist is concerned about something. A thorough investigation of your oral health during every cleaning is the best way to spot problems early before they can grow into bigger ones. A little extra time spent in the dentist's chair now can pay off for the rest of your life since your oral health affects your whole body.

Optional Treatments

There are a few optional treatments that might be recommended to you during the dental cleaning. Depending on your caries risk, the dentist may prescribe that a timely fluoride application will strengthen the enamel of your teeth and help them resist decay and cavities. Sealants, preventative resins, and more X-rays may be recommended as well. It's up to you whether you undergo these recommended treatments or not. However, you should at least discuss them with your dentist and understand the reasons they were recommended to you before turning them down.

Schedule a visit to your dentist in Virginia Beach for that cleaning and checkup you may have put off for a while. Here at Cusp Dental Boutique, we're focused on making this routine experience as comfortable as possible for you. Discuss your dental anxiety or discomfort with us and our team will go the extra mile to keep you calm and informed throughout the process. We even have a comfort menu to help customize your visit even more! Even if it has been a few years since you've last seen a dentist, it's never too late to start a new commitment to better overall wellness and dental health with our help.

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