All Smiles Family Dentistry

What Happens During a Teeth Cleaning?

For some of us, the thought of going to the dentist for teeth cleaning with the dental hygienist may have us fearful of what the dentist and hygienist will find. Perhaps we have an intense fear of pain or maybe we dread the lecture about our poor oral hygiene. However, things have changed at the dentist’s office for the better. Routine dental hygiene care, non-surgical periodontal procedures, and restorative dentistry are becoming easier to conduct, safer, quicker, and more comfortable. This is all thanks in part to technological advances such as airflow devices. If you haven’t been in for a dental exam in a while, here is what to expect during your next visit to the dental hygienist

What Happens During a Teeth Cleaning?

Oral examination

The dental hygienist will conduct a screening exam of your entire mouth. This will include a periodontal charting of all your teeth to look for inflamed gums, recession, and bone loss. They will be on the lookout for any other potential problems such as tooth decay. Should the dental hygienist detect anything major around your teeth and gums, the general dentist will take a look. The dentist will evaluate the cause for concern and decide if the next best step is a professional cleaning and/or taking care of any necessary dental work.

Plaque and tartar removal

The next step is to remove plaque and tartar above and below the gum-line and in between the teeth using an ultrasonic scaler. This process involves a high-tech instrument that uses water and vibrations to remove those deposits. This step can take a while depending on the amount of build-up. Tartar builds up as a consequence of insufficient brushing and flossing and infrequent dental cleanings. Tartar buildup is also due to the amount and type of minerals in your saliva. This varies from person to person. Some people naturally build more tartar than others and may require more frequent cleanings. The hygienist will then go in and do a fine scale with her dental instruments to make sure any residual deposits are removed.

Professional flossing

Dental hygienists take flossing to a different level. They have the ability to get deep in between teeth. They will look for any trouble spots and weaknesses that may cause bleeding from the gums. Flossing will also remove any residual plaque and is a perfect time for the hygienist to show you how to floss correctly and which areas to watch out for. Also, a water pic water flosser may be recommended during this time depending on the conditions of your gum tissues and your ability to floss.

Fluoride application

A fluoride treatment, such as fluoride varnish, may then be applied to protect your teeth and fight cavities for several months. The fluoride varnish will be applied to your teeth with a brush. The varnish will set and harden when exposed to the saliva in your mouth. This will allow you to eat and drink straight after the professional teeth cleaning.

Additional steps and alternatives

Biofilm therapyTeeth cleaning airflow prophylaxis master

Biofilm therapy uses airflow technology as part of the teeth cleaning process. One benefit is a deeper cleaning for healthier teeth. Technological advances have now delivered products such as the AIRFLOW® Prophylaxis Master. Dental offices use this technology in guided biofilm therapy.

The AIRFLOW® Prophylaxis Master enables high precision in the cleaning treatment of systemic conditions associated with oral bacteria by disrupting oral biofilm. The AIRFLOW® Prophylaxis Master consists of a supra and subgingival air polishing and calculus removal system using a piezoelectric ultrasonic scaler. Furthermore, it can disrupt subgingival biofilm as deep as 4mm. This groundbreaking technology is safe to use on dental implants as it goes about removing biofilm and surface stains, with relative ease and comfort.


X-rays will be taken as a matter of course during one of your two scheduled oral health visits each year. As the cleaning process unfolds, the dentist may elect to take more X-rays.

Molar sealants

Molar sealants are used on children’s teeth to prevent cavities in areas they find difficult to reach and brush. This type of dental procedure helps to prevent tooth decay as well.


The obvious benefit of teeth cleaning is that it improves the overall health of your mouth and keeps your teeth and gums protected until your next appointment. However, another benefit is that you will feel motivated to commit to a thorough oral care regimen. Perhaps the biggest benefit of all is a more confident smile and better feeling gum tissues.

Additional Information: The Dangers of Using a Plaque Scraper at Home

All Smiles Family Dentistry in Omaha, NE

At All Smiles Family Dentistry, we are proud to provide high-quality care to all our patients both young and old thanks to our compassionate and experienced dental team. We offer a clean and comfortable clinic to help you feel relaxed during your visit. Contact All Smiles Family Dentist.