What a Dental Cleaning Involves

Consistent professional teeth cleanings are an essential part of maintaining great oral health.  When you see your dental hygienist, he or she is doing much more than just brushing your teeth for you.  The benefits of professional teeth cleanings include a reduced risk for dental diseases and improvement of bad breath.  The cleaning also removes surface stains to uncover brighter and whiter teeth underneath. 

In this blog, we’ll cover what actually occurs during a dental cleaning.


The part most people remember is the scaling, and you may think of it as the “scraping”.  Your hygienist uses specialized dental instruments to remove plaque and tartar buildup from the teeth. 

Plaque is the soft, white buildup that collects on the teeth between every meal.  You can easily remove it with a toothbrush and floss.  Plaque contains food debris, exfoliated cells from the inside of the mouth, and the bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease.  Your daily home care routine is essential in removing dental plaque.

When we do not consistently remove plaque from the teeth, it mineralizes, or hardens, into tartar (also called calculus).  Tartar is more yellowish in color and firmly attached to the teeth.  You cannot remove tartar with brushing and flossing.  Only specialized dental tools in the hands of a trained dental professional can.  In order to prevent dental problems, tartar must be removed on a consistent basis.  For most adults, this should be every six months.


After scaling the teeth to remove all bacterial buildup, your hygienist then uses a flavored, gritty paste to polish the teeth.  This polishing step removes superficial stains and leaves the underlying enamel surface glossy smooth.  This smoothness helps slow down future plaque and stain collection on the teeth.

Risk Assessment

Your hygienist has received extensive training in recognizing dental problems and their warning signs.  He or she will evaluate your teeth, gums, soft tissue, and jaws to determine any risk factors that may be present.  Seeing the same dental hygienist consistently improves this process because it allows him or her to see patterns and notice changes in your oral health.  By spotting risk factors, your hygienist is able to communicate with both your dentist and you about potential problem areas in your oral health.

Risk assessment is one of the most important aspects of our philosophy at Prosper Family Dentistry.  We believe in stopping dental problems before they begin.  We make recommendations for preventive solutions after we ascertain your individual risk factors for the various dental problems that could occur. 

Preventive Treatments

Your dental hygienist will also consult with you and your dentist to determine which preventive treatments would benefit you.  In our goal of providing every patient with comprehensive, conservative dental care, we always give patients the options of preventive treatments.  Some of these preventive treatment options, like mouthguards for clenching and grinding, will require a visit with the dentist.  Others can be applied by your dental hygienist during your dental cleaning appointment.

When one’s risk assessment reveals multiple risk factors for developing cavities, we will discuss the preventive treatments that strengthen tooth enamel and fight cavities.  If agreed upon, the hygienist can apply professional fluoride treatments or dental sealants while you are there for your cleaning.

Many patients suffer from sensitive teeth.  The hygienists can apply medication to the teeth to reduce sensitivity and make the teeth cleanings more comfortable for you.

More Questions about What a Dental Cleaning Involves?

Call Prosper Family Dentistry at 972-347-1145 today to schedule a dental cleaning with one of our skilled dental hygienists.  We are extremely proud of the talent, knowledge, and compassion each of our hygienists shows every day for every patient they see. 

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