What Happens During a Dental Cleaning?

Dental Cleanings Fort CollinsProfessional dental cleaning treatments are one of the best ways to prevent and treat periodontal disease, maintain optimal tooth health and cultivate a bright, white smile. Some patients are apprehensive about coming in for teeth cleanings because they don’t know what to expect. By knowing what happens during a teeth cleaning you can eliminate your fears–or the fears of a loved one–and approach this dental visit without fear or anxiety.


Regular Dental Cleanings Keep You and Your Mouth Healthy

As more time goes by, scientists and health-industry practitioners are beginning to talk more and more about the oral system link. The U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Health made this statement: “You cannot be healthy without oral health. Oral health and general health should not be interpreted as separate entities.” Your dental practitioner at Family and Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies is able to spot warning signs in your mouth that can alert you early if you have a condition developing or present during your cleaning appointments.

It has been said that, “The mouth is the window to the body’s immune response.” By examining the health of your periodontal tissue, your dentist can catalog the state of your body’s current inflammatory response. If your gums are swollen or bleeding, it can indicate that you body’s system is currently engaged and actively working. (Temporary swelling or bleeding is common when we have a cold or are under severe stress). What you don’t want to have happen, is to have your body trapped in a chronic state of inflammation.  Your hygienist and dentist can regularly assess this during routine cleanings.


Oral Health Impacts Your Overall Health

It is easy to see the mouth as disconnected from the rest of your body, but complications in your mouth can cause disease–from dementia to heart disease–in other parts of your body, too.

Dental cleanings can help prevent oral cancer, gum disease and tooth loss while sustaining optimum physical health, including reducing heart attacks and strokes.  Are you struggling with stubborn stains on your teeth from tobacco, coffee or tea? Teeth cleanings can restore your bright, white smile while freshening your breath. The Academy of General Dentistry recommends that patients receive a professional dental cleaning at least twice a year to safeguard and improve oral health.


What Happens During a Dental Cleaning?

The best way to treat oral health pitfalls is to practice early prevention methods and education. At Family and Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies we start your dental cleaning with excellent patient education and continue this throughout your appointment by showing you how you can improve your oral hygiene practices at home, showing you areas that need more attention, and by answering any questions you may have during the process.  A typical cleaning takes between 30 minutes to an hour and is performed while you’re lying down in a dental chair.  During your cleaning, our expert hygienists and dentists will offer you a variety of services to ensure your teeth and gums are–and stay–at their very best. Typical cleanings include:


  • Tartar Removal.  Even with regular flossing and brushing, tartar–mineralized plaque–will accumulate on your teeth in hard to reach places. Because of the strength of tartar, it can only be removed with ultrasonic treatments and fine hand tools by a trained dentist or hygienist.
  • Teeth Polishing. Your teeth will shine and return to their original smoothness following a polishing in our office using a slow-speed hand-piece.
  • Fluoride Treatments.  Fluoride applications are used to strengthen the enamel of your teeth and may be applied using a foam, gel, or a liquid form.
  • Periodontal Health Evaluation.  At each cleaning, we will check for signs of gingivitis or gum disease by measuring the depth of your gum pockets, checking for bleeding sites and assessing bone loss through digital x-rays and/or observation. Sometimes we may prescribe an antibiotic for persistent gum infections or bacteria.
  • Occlusion Check. Overtime, your teeth move and this can affect the way your bite functions, how you chew and ultimately how you swallow.  If teeth shifting is severe, and your bite is not functioning correctly (malocclusion) we can refer you to an orthodontist for treatment.
  • Oral Cancer Screening. Conducting an oral cancer examination and screening is an essential part of a dental cleaning.  Oral cancer can be easily detected when you know what you are looking for unlike many cancers that are hidden and out of sight.
  • Medical History Review.  Medical health fluctuates as time passes so we always want to make sure we have the most current information regarding your health status. Certain health conditions (and their associated medications) can impact the health of your teeth and mouth. Let us know of any changes to your health condition.
  • Antibiotic Therapy. Sometimes it is necessary for us to perform site-specific antibiotic therapy where we place antibiotics directly into gum pockets to minimize future growth of bacteria.
  • Denture Care. For patients that currently have dentures, we will clean and adjust them for you.
  • Diet/Nutrition Counseling. We will take some time, briefly, to discuss with you any substances (such as tobacco or drugs) that could be affecting the health of your teeth and gums.  We will also discuss with you your current nutrition habits to ensure you are doing all you can to keep your teeth as healthy as possible.
  • Recommendations for Treatment.  Dental cleanings give us a perfect opportunity to make recommendations for future or additional treatment that might be necessary based on our findings.


Do Cleanings Hurt?

One of the concerns patients that have anxiety about visiting a dentist express is will it hurt? Patients that have been dedicated to practicing proper oral hygiene habits at home rarely experience discomfort during a dental cleaning. If you have been more negligent with your oral care practices, it is possible that you could experience some temporary discomfort during the appointment. However, there is no need to fear! Dr. Willey and Dr. Murri will take great steps to make sure that you are as comfortable as possible and can even apply a topical anesthetic before cleaning to help you. Cleanings are necessary to maintain your oral health. Don’t postpone them out of fear. The more engaged you are in taking care of your teeth, the less pain you will have now or down the line.


Call to Make a Dental Cleaning Appointment Today

Professional teeth cleaning treatments are the primary means of preventing and treating periodontal disease, maintaining tooth health and cultivating a bright, white smile. To learn more about our dental cleanings or schedule an appointment, call our Fort Collins office today at (970) 223-8425. You can also send a contact request or make an appointment online using the form below.