Some people, in particular those who fear dentists, expect the worst kind of pain in a dental cleaning procedure. The truth is, if the routine is done in a proper manner, it is rarely painful. People that have marked tooth sensitivity or those that fear the dentists might feel more discomfort than the average patients. Furthermore, people who have not had their teeth cleaned in a long time may expect to experience some extra scraping or pulling to fully remove plaque from the teeth and a longer cleaning session. For most people however, a dental cleaning is more of an inconvenience rather than a painful procedure.
How long does dental cleaning take?
To properly perform a dental cleaning procedure on a patient, it basically takes approximately 30 minutes to one hour. General dental hygienists are the specialists that perform most of the basic teeth cleaning procedures in the dentist’s office. But if it is a part of a yearly check-up, after the hygienist has done his part, the dentist then takes over. He starts by taking x-rays of the teeth to check for cavity. Afterwards, he then takes care of the difficult to remove plaque and while at it, he evaluates the gums for gum disease.
Is pain medication necessary in a dental cleaning procedure?
There is truly no need for pain medication in dental cleaning procedure. Some patients however are so nervous that they ask for nitrous oxide before the procedure. To help with anxiety, dentists recommend taking a tranquilizer about an hour before having the teeth professionally cleaned. In cases of extreme anxiety, the dentists may opt for a method referred to as sleeping dentistry where the patient is made to medically sleep through the procedure.
What about the tools used?
Dental hygienists normally make use of a number of tools during a dental cleaning procedure. The most commonly used tools are the tooth scaler and polisher. Tooth polishers buff the teeth and help in getting rid off small pieces of plaque. They come in different sized heads for ease of cleaning the hard to reach areas deep inside the mouth.
Scalers on the other hand are used for removing hard to remove plaque, particularly between the teeth. But depending on pain threshold, the extent of plaque build-up, sensitivity level and the length of time since the last cleaning process, some people might find scalers to be uncomfortable when used on them.
A device that uses pressure to shoot water is often employed to shoot water into the mouth during the cleaning process. This device helps to thoroughly rinse out the mouth during the cleaning process, completely removing tiny hidden dirt and plaque while at it. In most cases, the dentist will merely use a normal mouthwash for this purpose.
Home brushing and flossing activity
When a patient visits a dentist for a dental cleaning procedure, he should expect to be asked about his normal home’s brushing and flossing activities. If it turns out that he has a lot of plaque or doesn’t regularly clean and floss his teeth, then a proper lecture in teeth care is given by the dentist during the cleaning up process. For people that regularly clean and floss their teeth but still have a significant buildup of plaque, there is a need for a more regular and consistent cleaning.
Dental care advice
Dental care advice is often given at the end or during the cleaning up procedure. The patient is advised on how to properly take care of his teeth at home at this stage. Scheduling for appointments for extensive teeth care services like filing cavity is also done at this stage. People with extra busy dentists need to schedule their next cleaning procedure well in advance to avoid disappointments. All in all, dentists recommend a regular six-month dental cleaning scheduling for problem free mouth full of perfect teeth.
What about people with other health issues?
People who have undergone a heart surgery or with a persistent heart condition should let the dentist know about it before a dental cleaning appointment. This is because they are at a higher risk of developing a condition known as endocarditis that can seriously affect the already weak heart. Unless otherwise instructed, the right way to go about the dental cleaning process for these types of patients is to start with taking a dose of antibiotics an hour before the procedure.