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Teeth Cleaning Procedure: What to Expect?

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Everyone knows the basics of dental care that should be done at home: Brushing twice a day with toothpaste, flossing once before bed, and rinsing with fluoride mouthwash. However, even those who stick to this routine perfectly might still be missing some spots when it comes to keeping your mouth tartar and plaque-free. When it comes to fighting off harmful bacteria which can cause decay, it’s important to have your teeth regularly professionally cleaned by a dental hygienist. Let’s look at what to expect when you come in for a cleaning, and the details of the teeth cleaning process.

What Happens During a Dental Teeth Cleaning?

When you come in for your cleaning, you’ll go through a few steps in the teeth cleaning process with your dental hygienists. Dental hygienists are licensed and trained medical staff who have the tools and knowledge to clean parts of your teeth you can’t reach at home. Cleanings are simple and painless, and they usually start with:

A Physical Exam

First, your hygienist will conduct an exam of your teeth, and ask you about any issues, symptoms, or changes in your health or routine you might have experienced since your last appointment. They will use a small mirror and light to check the back and sides of your teeth, as well as the soft tissue around your mouth. Once they determine you are ready for your cleaning, they’ll move on to the next step.

Removal Of Plaque And Tartar

One of the most important parts of the teeth cleaning process is the removal of plaque (a sticky film caused by sugar-loving bacteria in your mouth) and tartar (plaque that has hardened over time and is difficult to remove). Both substances cause decay by providing a place for bacteria to wear down the enamel in your teeth, and they must be removed thoroughly. Your dental hygienist will use a small metal tool called a “scaler” to scrape away the plaque and tartar. You may feel and hear some scraping on your teeth, but this should not feel painful. Plaque and tartar buildup can be negated by frequent brushing and flossing.

Brushing With Highspeed Brush And Grit Toothpaste

After your teeth have been scaled, your hygienist will use a high-powered electric brush to polish your teeth smooth and shiny! They do this with the application of professional-grade toothpaste, which may feel a little grittier than the kind you’re used to at home. This is a specialty type of brushing and should be performed only by a professional during your cleaning.


Everyone knows what flossing is, but it’s much easier for your hygienist to manipulate the floss during the teeth cleaning process. This simply means that they’re able to reach places that may be difficult for you to reach at home, and results in a cleaner mouth.


Your hygienist may either give you a glass of water or rinse your teeth with a water jet. Either way, this step is just to remove any debris that may be left over from your cleaning.

Fluoride Treatment

Fluoride is an important, naturally occurring mineral that hardens the enamel of your teeth and can be applied in many different types of treatment. Your hygienist may use a foamy gel, a liquid rinse, or a type of “painted-on” varnish on your teeth and will give you specific instructions on what to do while the treatment is applied. Most fluoride treatments are flavored, so you don’t have to worry about any funny tastes.

How Long Does a Teeth Cleaning Take?

Most cleanings are simple, painless affairs, but they can vary in time depending on the condition of your teeth. If you’ve been diligent in your home care, cleaning should take 20-30 minutes at most. If you have places that need special attention, it can take longer to go through the teeth cleaning process.

How Much is a Teeth Cleaning?

The cost of a dental cleaning can vary and usually depends on the type of insurance that you have. However, Champagne Family Dentistry in South Meadows offers our patients discounted rates for dental cleanings through our dental membership plans. Kids can receive cleanings for $99 while adults can get full-service cleanings for $199.

How Often Should You Get a Dental Cleaning?

Dental cleanings are important, but most people only need a professional cleaning every six months. Schedule your dental checkup and you’re cleaning at the same time and be sure to keep your appointments!


Now that you’re familiar with the teeth cleaning process, the last step is to choose a dentist that you’re comfortable with to perform this crucial service. Champagne Family Dentistry has over 40 years of experience with preventive dental care in Reno, and our professional staff is ready to see you for your dental cleaning! Call, visit our clinic, or send us a message today to schedule your cleaning appointment.

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