What to Expect During Your Dental Checkup and Cleaning

Dental cleanings are more than just a routine part of oral care; they are essential to maintaining your overall health. During a dental cleaning and checkup, here's what you can typically expect:

  • Initial Oral Examination:

    The visit starts with a thorough examination of your mouth by a dental hygienist or dentist. They check for signs of cavities, gum disease, oral cancer, and other potential issues using visual inspection and possibly digital X-rays for a comprehensive view.

  • Plaque and Tartar Removal:

    Specialized tools, including scalers and ultrasonic devices, are utilized to meticulously remove plaque and tartar accumulation. This step is crucial as tartar, the hardened form of plaque, can only be removed professionally.

  • Teeth Polishing:

    Following tartar removal, your teeth are polished with a high-grade paste. This step removes surface stains and makes your teeth feel smooth and refreshed.

  • Expert Flossing:

    The hygienist will floss your teeth, ensuring even the most challenging spots between your teeth are cleaned. This also helps identify areas where bleeding may occur, indicating potential gum problems.

  • Fluoride Treatment:

    A fluoride treatment may be applied to fortify the teeth against decay, acting as a protective barrier until your next visit.

What to expect during your next visit to your dentist

Common Tools and Their Uses

  • Scalers: Essential for tartar and plaque removal.
  • Polishing Tools: Buff away stains and smooth the enamel.
  • Water Sprays and Suction Tools: Keep the mouth clean and dry during the procedure.

Preparing for Your Dental Checkup

  • Oral Hygiene: Continue with your regular oral care routine. Consider ditching the floss and add Proclaim to your routine to get the most effective and efficient 360 degree clean.
  • Medication List: Bring a list of current medications to share with your dentist.
  • Medical History: Be ready to update any new health developments since your last visit.
  • Questions/Concerns: Write down any oral health questions or concerns to discuss with your dentist.

After Your Dental Visit

  • Follow-Up Care: Adhere to any personalized care instructions from your dentist.
  • Dietary Considerations: Temporarily avoid highly pigmented or hard foods to protect your teeth post-polishing.
  • Maintain Regular Care: Stick to a diligent home care routine to extend the benefits of your cleaning.

How Often Should You Visit?

While the general recommendation is every six months, individual needs may vary. Your dentist will advise on the best schedule for your oral health condition.


How long does a typical dental checkup and cleaning take?
Expect the visit to last between 30 to 60 minutes, depending on your oral health status.

Can I eat or drink before a dental checkup?
Yes, though it's advisable to avoid foods and beverages that could discolor your teeth or leave residues.

What are signs I should visit the dentist outside of regular checkups?
Symptoms like pain, sensitivity, swelling, bleeding gums, or persistent bad breath warrant an immediate visit.

How does a dentist evaluate for oral cancer during a checkup?
A thorough examination of your neck, head, face, and oral cavity for any unusual signs is conducted as part of the cancer screening.

Can a dentist provide guidance on dealing with sensitive teeth?
Absolutely. Your dentist can recommend specialized products and techniques to alleviate sensitivity.

Remember, regular dental checkups and cleanings are pivotal in maintaining optimal oral health. They not only help in preventing dental issues but also ensure early detection and treatment of any arising problems. Always opt for a reputable dental practice with high hygiene standards and qualified professionals to ensure the best care for your oral health.