The American Dental Association recommends routine dental cleanings as part of their comprehensive oral health recommendations. Even if you regularly floss and brush twice a day, routine dental care is still essential. Dental cleanings are prophylactic, meaning they can help prevent bigger issues, such as gum disease.
But have you ever wondered what exactly happens during a dental cleaning? That’s just the question our expert team at The Masters Dental Group in San Antonio, Texas, aims to answer here.
Despite the name, there’s more to a dental cleaning than just cleaning your teeth. Our dental cleanings always start with an oral exam. During the exam, your dentist carefully examines your mouth, gums, and jaw. We take a look at your bite, review your medical and dental history, and discuss any current symptoms or issues you’re having with your teeth.
During this exam, we also look for any red flags that could point to oral cancer, such as lesions, bumps, or slow-healing wounds.
After your oral exam, your hygienist removes plaque and tartar from your teeth with a scaler and dental mirror. Removing plaque and tartar reduces your risk of tooth decay and gum disease, freshens your breath, and brightens up your smile.
Plaque 一 a sticky biofilm of bacteria that coats the surface of your teeth 一 can contribute to cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. Hardened plaque is known as tartar and is difficult, if not impossible, to remove on your own. Our team is gentle but thorough in cleaning all tooth surfaces.
Tooth polishing is a simple procedure in which we use a gritty paste to buff your teeth. This paste is sometimes called prophy paste (prophylactic paste) because of the prophylactic benefits of professional tooth polishing. The paste varies in grit and can be fine, medium, or coarse.
We apply the paste and use a polisher to safely and effectively buff your teeth. This procedure doesn’t hurt, and it also removes residual tartar, lifts minor stains, and helps prevent plaque from sticking to your teeth. Studies show that tooth polishing also helps remove bacteria from the surface of your teeth.
After tooth polishing, we floss your teeth and rinse your mouth. During this time, feel free to ask any questions about flossing techniques or flossing tools that may help improve your flossing routines at home.
For example, many people request guidance when learning to floss under a dental bridge for the first time. We’re always happy to answer questions and help you feel more confident flossing!
The final step in the teeth cleaning process is an application of dental fluoride. Fluoride strengthens your enamel and helps prevent cavities. Professional fluoride treatments contain much more fluoride than what’s in your toothpaste, and they’re available in many forms, including mouthwashes, foams, and gels.
Each dental cleaning is customized to your specific needs, and for that reason, your appointment may vary a bit from this overview. For instance, if we detect a cavity during the oral exam, we may discuss treatment options such as fillings or, in the case of a severe cavity, a dental crown.
During your appointment, we may also discuss additional cosmetic treatments, such as veneers, to help you reach your aesthetic goals. We want you to have a healthy, beautiful smile you’ll love to share.
If you’re overdue for a dental cleaning, let us help you get back on track. Call The Masters Dental Group at 210-349-4424 to book your appointment today.