What to Expect During a Teeth Cleaning

November 2, 2020 Lakeshore Dentistry

teeth cleaning dentists holland miAbout 42% of Americans don’t see a dentist as often as they would like, according to a survey from the Delta Dental Plans Association. This is unfortunate when you consider the fact that most dental insurance policies cover teeth cleanings, oral examinations, X-rays, and other preventive care in full.

Another 9% to 20% of Americans have dental fear or anxiety, according to WebMD. This also prevents a lot of people from being able to receive the care they need.

Despite these obstacles, there are tremendous benefits to receiving preventive dental care.

Here’s all that can happen during a teeth cleaning appointment:

Keep in mind that each patient is different. For example, you won’t need periodontal disease treatment if your gums are healthy.

Likewise, not all patients qualify for dental sealants. This is an extra service that we can easily add to a teeth cleaning appointment while we have you in the chair.

Here’s what to expect during a dental cleaning.

Initial Examination

First, the dental hygienist will examine the inside of your mouth to look for any obvious issues with your teeth or gums. If they spot anything that needs urgent attention, they’ll pause the appointment and alert one of our dentists.

Plaque and Tartar Removal

Plaque is an invisible film of bacteria that lives on your teeth and gums. As you eat sugary foods, these bacteria eat the particles left behind and produce an acid. This acid erodes your tooth enamel and attacks your gums over time.

If left untreated, plaque will harden into tartar. While you can remove plaque at home by brushing and flossing, only a dental professional will be able to remove tartar. That’s why it’s important to schedule teeth cleanings at least every 6 months.

Our hygienist will use a tool called a scaler to remove plaque and tartar on your teeth and around your gums. This should be painless, although you will hear the tool make a scraping sound against your teeth. That’s the sound of us removing plaque and tartar.


Next, the hygienist will use a high-powered toothbrush and gritty toothpaste to polish your teeth. They’ll then give you some water and ask you to swish it around to rinse your teeth. Next, the hygienist will use suction to suck up the water and any excess saliva from your mouth.


One of the final steps is to floss, removing any plaque or food particles hiding between teeth. Once our hygienist is done flossing your teeth, she’ll do a final rinse and you’ll be ready for one of our dentists to do the final examination.

Oral Examination

One of our dentists will perform an oral examination, checking the condition of your teeth and gums. They’ll also examine your X-rays to determine if there are any oral health problems lurking beneath the surface.

There are a lot of issues that can be spotted during your appointment. For example, red swollen gums are signs of gingivitis or periodontal disease. Worn tooth enamel could indicate that you’re grinding your teeth at night.

By catching these issues early, we can treat them as soon as possible and prevent further injury to your smile.

Oral Hygiene Counseling

Your appointment is the perfect opportunity to ask our dentists any questions about your oral health. From product recommendations to advice about oral hygiene, our dentists would be more than happy to help you on the path to a healthier smile. Once our dentist has answered all your questions, you’ll be all set.

At this point, your hygienist may ask you to schedule your next appointment with us so you can get in the routine of receiving preventive care. It’s vital that you see one of our dentists at least every 6 months so you can maintain a healthy smile for life.

Schedule Your Next Teeth Cleaning With Us

Our Holland dentists are dedicated to providing a wide range of services and delivering excellence in patient care. To schedule your next teeth cleaning, call the Lakeshore Dentistry & Implant Center at (616) 399-3946.