What to Expect During a Teeth Cleaning Grand Rapids

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends most people see the dentist at least once every six months. Regular teeth cleanings by a dental professional are one of the best ways to prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

But what actually happens during a teeth cleaning? What should you expect?

Dental X-Rays

Not every teeth cleaning starts with a dental X-rays. However, our dentists require new dental X-rays about every 12 months to make sure there are no new cavities. This means you probably won’t need X-rays for every dentist appointment unless you have teeth that are prone to decay.

Oral Examination

Our dental hygienists use a small mirror to check your teeth for obvious signs of tooth decay and gum disease. If you have significant oral health issues that would complicate a teeth cleaning, your hygienist may call in one of our dentists to examine your teeth before moving forward.

Remove Plaque and Tartar

Brushing and flossing your teeth at home removes most plaque, but often not all. Plaque that’s left on the teeth can harden into tartar, which can only be removed by a dental professional. Our dental hygienists use a special tool called a scaler to gently scrape dental plaque that hides along the gumline.

Polish Teeth with Gritty Toothpaste

After we remove plaque and tartar from your teeth, we’ll polish them with a gritty toothpaste. The type of gritty toothpaste we use during your appointment would be too abrasive for everyday use, but it’s perfectly safe for polishing your teeth every six months.

Our dental hygienist will ask what flavor of toothpaste you want from our selection, which could be anything from bubblegum to vanilla to a typical mint flavor. Don’t be alarmed by the grinding noise the high-powered toothbrush makes. Polishing your teeth shouldn’t hurt unless you have significant oral health issues.

Floss Between Teeth

Dental plaque likes to hide in between your teeth, which is why our dental hygienists will take the time to expertly floss your teeth. While flossing your teeth, we’ll be able to see if there are any places prone to gum bleeding.

Flossing also removes any debris left behind in your mouth from scraping dental plaque and brushing with gritty toothpaste. Afterward, you’ll be asked to rinse.

Final Check with One of Our Dentists

Once your teeth cleaning is finished, one of our Grand Rapids dentists will come in for the final check. If we detected tooth decay or gum disease during your appointment, our dentist will discuss your treatment options so you can maintain a healthy mouth.

After the final check, our dental hygienist will set you up for your next appointment. It may be soon if you need follow-up treatment, such as a tooth filling or dental crown. If not, we’ll schedule it six months out so you can maintain the routine of regular teeth cleanings.

Schedule Your Next Teeth Cleaning

Our Grand Rapids, MI, family dentists are dedicated to helping you maintain a beautiful, healthy smile with regular teeth cleanings. To request your next appointment, call Lake Michigan Dental at (616) 453-8211, or contact us online.

This blog post has been updated.