What to Expect During a Teeth Cleaning Grand Rapids

Your next dental checkup is the perfect opportunity for your family dentist to take x-rays, remove plaque buildup, and evaluate your oral health.

In this blog post, we will explain what happens during a teeth cleaning so you can feel informed and confident during your next appointment.

Keep in mind that there are different types of dental cleanings, depending on the condition of your teeth. For more information, our Grand Rapids dentists at Lake Michigan Dental recommend contacting a teeth cleaning dentist near you.

Dental X-Rays

Your dentist will need new dental x-rays about every 12 months to make sure there are no cavities. This means that you probably won’t need x-rays for every dentist appointment, unless you have teeth that are prone to decay.

Examination of Teeth and Gums

The dental hygienist will 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, the hygienist may call in the dentist to examine your teeth before moving forward.

Remove Plaque and Tartar

While brushing and flossing your teeth at home removes most plaque, you’ll still need a professional teeth cleaning every six months. Plaque that has hardened into tartar can only be removed by a dental health professional. A dental hygienist uses a special tool called a scaler to gently scrape dental plaque that hides along the gum line.

Polish Teeth with Gritty Toothpaste

The next step is to polish your teeth with gritty toothpaste. While the type of gritty toothpaste used during your appointment would be too abrasive for everyday use, it’s perfectly safe for polishing your teeth every six months.

The dental hygienist will ask what flavor toothpaste you want from their selection, which could be anything from bubblegum to vanilla. 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 teeth, which is why your dental hygienist takes the time to expertly floss your teeth. While flossing your teeth, your dental hygienist will also be able to see if there are any places prone to gum bleeding. Flossing also removes any debris left in your mouth from scraping dental plaque and brushing with gritty toothpaste. Afterwards, you will be asked to rinse.

Final Check from Dentist

Once the teeth cleaning is done, your dentist will come in for the final check. If tooth decay or gum disease was detected during your appointment, your dentist will be able to discuss your treatment options with you so you can maintain a healthy mouth. After the final check, the dental hygienist will set you up with another teeth cleaning appointment six months out.


The Grand Rapids family dentists at Lake Michigan Dental are dedicated to helping you maintain a beautiful healthy smile. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment for a professional teeth cleaning or dental exam, give us a call at (616) 453-8211.