How Long Does A Dental Cleaning Take?

The process of dental cleaning involves removing tarter deposits and plaque, which have built up on your teeth over the years. If you are planning to get your teeth cleaned, then, you might want to know how long does a dental cleaning take and what can you expect during this dental session? 

Let’s understand everything in detail. 

But before we get into the details, here are a few important statistics to make a note of:

•    According to NIH (National Institutes of Health), we lose around 12 permanent teeth by the time you reach 50 years. Though there are multiple reasons attributed to this loss, the two main ones include periodontal diseases and cavities. 
•    According to WHO (World Health Organization), Oral diseases are one of the most common NCDs (Non-Communicable Diseases) that affect individuals throughout their lifetime. They cause discomfort, disfigurement, pain, and even death.
•    According to Pubmed, oral diseases affect more than 3.9 billion people in the world. Your oral health has a deep connection with different diseases like pneumonia, endocarditis, birth & pregnancy complications, diabetes, and even cardiovascular problems. 
•    According to a study published by a few researchers at Queen’s University, poor oral hygiene is deeply connected to loose teeth, mouth ulcers, and gastrointestinal cancers. 
•    According to Science Daily, Americans spend over 1 billion on different teeth whitening products every year. Though these products make smiles clearer ad brighter, research says that they can cause tooth damage.

What is Dental Cleaning?

Dental cleaning is one of the most important preventative procedures performed by dental hygienists or dentists to achieve and maintain better oral health. 

Fact: Professional dental cleaning is also known as prophylaxis. 

During a dental cleaning procedure, a dentist removes two things that have accumulated over the years:

•    Tartar
•    Plaque

When these are removed, you protect your teeth from:

•    Dental caries 
•    Cavities
•    Bleeding gums
•    Other tooth issues

The process of dental cleaning might be performed with specially designed hand instruments or ultrasonic scalers. Once the stains are removed, your teeth are then polished with a prophylaxis paste, which is formulated exclusively for this procedure. 

While teeth/dental cleaning can be easily done at home with the help of a toothpaste, dental floss, and toothbrush, understand that every person is different and so are his or her teeth requirements.

A few still might need a better and deeper cleaning, which only a dentist will be able to provide. This is mainly because regular flossing and brushing cannot remove tartar & plaque completely. They still tend to lurk around on the tooth’s surface.

How long does a dental cleaning take?

A dental cleaning procedure takes about 30 minutes to 1 hour. A dental hygienist performs most of the teeth cleaning procedure (basic) in a dentist’s office. 

However, if it is a part of your yearly check-up, then once the dental hygienist completes his or her job, the dentist takes over.

He or she begins by taking an x-ray of your teeth to look for for cavity. Later, the dentist removes plaque and examines for gum diseases. 

Why should you undergo a Professional Dental Cleaning?

Your saliva contains calcium and other vital substances that strengthen as well as protect your teeth. 

Since your saliva is always circulating inside your mouth, it is constantly in contact with your teeth. Though this has helpful properties, it can create some calcium deposits on the teeth.

Now, these calcium deposits can be brown, black, or tooth-colored. After a few years, these tend to become “calculus,” more popularly known as “tartar.”

Tartar serves a perfect environment for bacterial growth and further, spreads close to your gums. Tartar might not be visible to your naked eyes but a dental hygienist or a dentist will be able to spot them and remove them so that the bacteria doesn’t stick on them. 

What happens during a Dental Cleaning?

Even though the cleaning procedure varies from one dentist to the other, you can usually expect these steps to occur until your next dental cleaning:

1. Basic Inspection

A dentist or dental hygienist will basically examine your gums and teeth. During this inspection, they might use a mirror to have a clearer picture of all the crannies and nooks in your mouth. 

Further, they will see if there is any sign of trouble such as gingivitis (inflamed gums) and dark spots (potential cavities). 

If a dental hygienist happens to perform this task, and notices something unusual in your mouth, he or she may call the dentist.

2. X-rays

During a professional dental check-up, your dentist will take x-rays of your mouth and teeth. This safe, quick process alerts a dentist to various oral issues, even including:

•    Tooth decay
•    Bone loss
•    Cysts and tumors
•    Oral abnormalities
•    Teeth movement
•    Gum diseases 

During a dental/teeth cleaning, you will receive preventive and diagnostic services from a dentist. 

The diagnostic services might include:

•    Examining your gum tissues
•    Screening of oral cancer
•    Checking your swallowing, chewing, and biting patterns
•    X-rays or examining the teeth for any decay 

The preventive services might include:

•    Stain removal
•    Sealants
•    Fluoride application
•    Tartar & plaque removal
•    Teeth polishing, including dental crowns & fillings
•    Adjusting and cleaning dentures as well as partial dentures