Many people are afraid of going to the dentist. However, for others, the cleaning process is painless and easy. Knowing the procedure you’re about to undergo is helpful and will alleviate many unnecessary fears. A routine cleaning usually contains the following procedures.
Physical Dental Exam
Before the cleaning process, we will conduct a dental examination of your entire mouth. A small mirror is used to examine the area around your teeth and gums for any signs of gum disease or other potential concerns.
Removing Plaque and Tartar
Frequent brushing and flossing prevent buildup of plaque. If plaque is left to harden, it becomes tartar. Using the small mirror as a guide, Dr. Brian Bomberger will use a scaler to eliminate any tartar or plaque that might have built up around the gumline and between the teeth. The more tartar has built up, the more time we’ll need to scrape it off. If tartar has developed, you’ll need to come into our office to have it removed.
Once we’ve removed all of the tartar, the dentist will brush your teeth with a high-powered electric toothbrush. This style of brush is highly effective at deep cleaning and removing any tartar that we might have missed in the previous stage.
For our professional cleanings, we use toothpaste that has the same taste and smell as store-bought toothpaste, and you can choose from a variety of flavors. Our toothpaste differs in that it has a gritty consistency which scrubs your teeth. This manner of polishing is safe to do twice a year at dental check-ups, but you shouldn’t brush your teeth so harshly when at home because that will wear down the enamel.
Expert Flossing Session
Even if you floss regularly at home, and you should, during one of our expert flossing sessions, we can penetrate deep between your teeth and pinpoint any potential problem spots where your gums might bleed. This professional flossing will also remove any remaining plaque or toothpaste.
Next, we will ask you to rinse out your mouth to eliminate any debris. We usually give our patients a rinse that contains liquid fluoride.
The last step is a fluoride treatment. Fluoride acts as a protectant for the teeth and helps resist cavities for several months, until your next check-up.
We have multiple flavors. We place the fluoride (in the form of either foamy gel or sticky paste) in a mouthpiece that goes over your teeth. It’s left on for about a minute. Fluoride varnish, painted on with a small brush, is also an option. The varnish hardens when it comes in contact with saliva, so you can eat and drink right after the procedure.
Other Possible Steps
We usually take x-rays once a year, so we might do that during your appointment if you’re due for one. Depending on what we observe during your visit, we might perform other exams. For children, Dr. Brian Bomberger might recommend molar sealants in areas that are difficult to brush as a cavity prevention method.
Whether or not you require any extra treatment, what matters is to continue coming in for regular cleanings to prevent dental problems. Now that you know what goes on during a dental check-up, we hope you’ll feel more comfortable the next time you’re here.
If it’s been at least six months since your last cleaning, it’s time to schedule another one. Please call us at 971-287-3477 to set one up.