What Happens During a Dental Cleaning?

Regular dental cleanings at your Lakewood, CO dental clinic are designed to help you maintain excellent oral health. Your dentist provides not only a thorough professional cleaning, but also a dental exam and dental x-rays to assess your dental health. 

At our Lakewood dental clinic, your checkup is the most important step in preventative care. If you want to avoid costly dental treatments, schedule your recommended dental cleanings. They’ll help ensure your teeth and gums remain healthy. Here we explain what you can expect at your next dental cleaning.

What’s in a Dental Cleaning?

A typical dental cleaning appointment includes the following steps:

Your dental exam:

During your exam, your Lakewood dentist inspects your teeth and gums to spot potential problems such as tooth decay and gum disease. When you schedule your regular dental cleanings, your dentist can catch issues before they become serious. As a result, you can avoid painful cavities and gum infections. An important part of your dental exam includes a thorough check of your face, neck, and jawline as part of your oral cancer screening. Your dentist also reviews your medical history so any changes to your health and medications are considered in your treatment. There are many medical conditions or medications that can affect your treatment plan and oral health. Always bring your latest list of medications and changes to your health to your Lakewood, CO dental appointments.

X-rays:

X-rays are an important tool for dentistry as they help detect issues not spotted with the naked eye during the visual exam. They allow your dentist to see the area below the gum line and teeth to look for issues such as impacted wisdom teeth, abscesses, cysts/tumors, and jawbone issues. At some dental clinics in Lakewood (including ours), dentists use a handheld x-ray machine or even a 3D imaging system to scan your mouth. The scans and 3D images of your mouth and teeth help your dentist identify any areas of concern and determine the best treatment plan unique to you. 

Professional cleaning:

The next part of your checkup includes a professional teeth cleaning, which removes plaque and tartar buildup that regular flossing and brushing can’t clean. This procedure is critical to dental health. It includes a process called scaling that requires a special tool called a scaler. This is the only way to remove the more stubborn plaque and tartar from your teeth and gum line. You then have a thorough polish to help remove stains with a final floss and rinse.

Fluoride treatment:

If there is a history of a lot of cavities, some patients will also receive a fluoride treatment.  This can be important is someone is at higher risk for tooth decay, or are experiencing tooth sensitivity. The fluoride strengthens the teeth’s enamel and protects it from future decay.

Oral care advice:

Lastly, your hygienist will look for trouble areas that have more buildup of plaque and tartar, so they can show you how to improve your brushing and flossing technique. This will reduce plaque and tartar buildup for your next professional cleaning. Your dentist will also make other recommendations to help with your oral hygiene regime. These include things such as special toothpaste for sensitive teeth or enamel erosion, and flossing tools that make the job easier.

Throughout the entire process, your dental team will make sure you are comfortable. They will also answer any questions you have about your oral health.

Why are Dental Cleanings Important?

Your dental cleanings and checkups help you avoid painful conditions caused by tooth decay and poor oral hygiene. Treatments related to oral health issues are very costly and can be avoided by scheduling your regular cleanings. In addition, your dentist also is at the frontline to identify signs of problems with your overall health, including: 

As you can see, your dental cleaning involves several steps, all focused on improving your overall health. If you have any hesitations about going, or if it’s been a long time since your last appointment, remember that taking the first step to better oral health will help your overall health in the long run. Schedule your next appointment with Dr. Elizabeth Turner here and she’ll get to know you and evaluate your unique needs.

Interested in learning more about general dentistry services? Visit this page here

About the Author

Dr. Elizabeth Turner is a whole-health, family dentist in Lakewood, CO who provides general, restorative, and cosmetic dental care. She focuses on the mouth-body connection and helps her patients smile confidently, breathe clearer, and live healthier lives. 

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