What is a dental cleaning?

A dental cleaning is completed by a dental hygienist in most cases. In some dental offices, dentists are also able to provide teeth cleaning services as well.

The main goal of a dental cleaning, is to remove plaque and tartar buildup, from all surfaces of each tooth. Your dental hygienist will use a variety of dental instruments to help access and clean all areas of your teeth. Some of the instruments used may be manual instruments and some are powered. A combination of both types of instruments is used in the majority of dental offices today.


Why is it needed, if I brush and floss regularly?


While brushing and flossing regularly at home, makes the biggest contribution towards your oral health, dental cleanings are needed to ensure a complete clean. Even with the proper brushing and flossing technique, it is still possible to miss some areas, especially hard to reach areas, such as the back of the mouth.


Some patients may also have periodontal pockets. These are deep areas under the gums, that form due to gum disease. Dental floss can effectively reach about 1 to 3mm under the gum line to clean the effectively. When there is more than a 3mm area to clean, dental floss cannot reach such a deep pocket. A professional dental cleaning is the only solution to properly access and clean these areas.

Additional Procedures

In addition to a dental cleaning, dental x-rays or radiographs are also needed to help ensure that all tartar has been removed from the tooth surfaces. Tartar buildup can form on all surfaces of the teeth. Buildup on the front and back of teeth are easy to detect, but buildup that is between teeth or under the gums are harder to detect. Dental x-rays can help the dental professional to locate these areas of buildup that cannot be easily seen, in order to remove all of them properly.


Many dental hygiene appointments are also accompanied with a dental polish. This helps to remove any residual plaque buildup and helps to remove surface stains on the teeth.

Fluoride may also be applied to the surfaces of the teeth, to help remineralize and strengthen the tooth’s enamel. Fluoride is also beneficial for patients who have weak enamel or are more at risk of developing cavities.

If you are overdue for your dental cleaning or feel like your teeth are not as clean as they  can be, contact us to schedule an appointment.

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