Most people dread visiting the dentist. Regardless of whether it’s a check-up or teeth cleaning, the uncomfortable prodding, strange whirring noises, and occasional jaw discomfort remain the same. Despite that, teeth cleaning is a surprisingly simple and painless process.
Understanding what goes on behind the process of scaling and polishing can help set your mind at ease and put your fears to rest—so you can better enjoy the results!
A thorough inspection
Teeth cleaning may be performed by a dentist or a dental hygienist. Before beginning with the cleaning process, they will perform a thorough inspection of your entire mouth.
During this examination, they are likely to use a small mirror to get a better look at the inside of your mouth—checking for problems like inflamed gums (a.k.a. gingivitis) and cavities. If the dental hygienist spots something unusual or concerning, your dentist may be called in to check if it’s alright to proceed.
Professional teeth cleanings are scheduled biannually, whereas X-rays are necessary only once a year, depending on how caries-prone the patient is. If you’re a new patient, your dentist is likely to want to take digital x-rays of your mouth in order to determine the current state of your teeth and gums.
This process is both quick and safe—alerting your dentist to any oral issues which include bone loss, oral abnormalities, tooth decay, tumours and cysts, gum disease and displacement of teeth.
Plaque & tartar removal
Did you know that plaque that collects around the gum line turns into tartar over time? By the time that happens, it’s pretty much impossible to brush it off—literally and figuratively. A build-up of tartar could cause cavities or even gum disease to develop later on.
Oral hygienists use a scaler to scrape away at accumulated tartar and plaque around the gum line as well as in between your teeth. How long it takes really depends on how much tartar you have built up on the teeth. If you want to be done with it as soon as possible, make sure to brush and floss often.
Gritty power polishing
Next, the hygienist will brush your now tartar-free teeth with a high-powered electric brush and a paste with a slightly gritty texture that will gently scrub your teeth. If you’re lucky enough, you might get to choose the flavour of your toothpaste!
While the sound is loud enough to take some getting used to, it’s an efficient way to thoroughly clean and polish the teeth, leaving them smooth and shiny. This step, if carried out by a professional, is beneficial to the teeth and should be done at least twice a year. However, this doesn’t mean that you should be as harsh with your teeth when brushing at home—you’ll wear down your enamel if you brush mindlessly at the same spot!
Nothing beats an expert flossing session. The hygienist is able to get deep between your teeth, locating and identifying potential problem spots where you may bleed at the gums. Your hygienist may also ask you about your flossing habits and recommend certain techniques.
Rinse & fluoride treatment
You may be given a rinse which contains liquid fluoride to get rid of any remaining debris. A fluoride treatment may then be carried out to protect your teeth against cavities for several months until your next visit.
A foamy gel will be placed into a mouthpiece that goes over your teeth—staying on for only a minute or two. Occasionally, fluoride varnish is used instead, and will harden after being painted on.
If you’re worried about the price, there’s no need to—the cost of scaling and polishing is lesser than even the most affordable orthodontic braces in Singapore and however much your ceramic braces cost you. Time to give your pearly whites the care they deserve today!