The Dental Cleaning Procedure: Everything You Need to Know

Receive Biannual Professional Teeth Cleanings for Pristine Oral Health

Nobody wants to deal with pesky tooth problems or an unsightly smile. By maintaining excellent dental hygiene and regular teeth cleanings, you can avoid invasive treatments and having to hide your smile due to embarrassment. Find out what happens at a routine dental cleaning procedure from our Seattle dentists so you can feel more comfortable at your next visit.

elderly woman receiving a routine dental cleaning

How the Dental Cleaning Procedure Works

Dental Exam

Before your dental cleaning begins, a dental hygienist or dentist will perform a dental exam to check for any signs of problems such as cavities or gum disease. These exams are essential for determining the condition of your oral health, and if you’ll need any additional treatments. They’re fairly quick and shouldn’t cause any pain.

Plaque and Tartar Removal

Using specialized dental tools, such as a dental scaler, your hygienist will perform plaque and tartar removal. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth and can lead to cavities and gum disease. Tartar is a hard mineral deposit that forms when plaque isn’t removed and can only be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist. You may feel some sensitivity during this process, but it shouldn’t be painful.

Teeth Cleaning and Polishing

Once the plaque and tartar have been removed, your dentist will clean and polish your teeth using a special toothpaste and brush. This process removes surface stains and leaves your teeth feeling smooth and clean.


Your dental hygienists will then floss between the teeth to remove any remaining plaque or food particles. Flossing is essential during dental cleanings because it can reach areas between teeth that are difficult to clean with a toothbrush.

Fluoride Treatment

Depending on your oral health, your dentist may recommend a fluoride treatment to help protect your teeth from decay. Fluoride is a mineral that can help remineralize teeth and make them more decay-resistant. The fluoride treatment may be applied as a gel, foam, or varnish that is brushed onto the teeth and left to sit for a few minutes before being rinsed off.

young woman smiling at the beach while holding her sun hat

Caring for Your Teeth After Dental Cleaning

After your dental cleaning, it’s crucial to take care of your teeth to maintain good dental hygiene and prevent problems, such as tooth decay or gum disease, from developing. Don’t let poor oral hygiene turn into unwanted dental problems or costly procedures. Your dentist will provide you with post-op instructions after your dental cleaning appointment to ensure you keep your teeth clean and happy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if I have dental anxiety?
Can I eat or drink before a dental cleaning?
What should I do if I have dental anxiety?

If you have dental anxiety, talk to your dentist about your concerns. They may be able to offer sedation options such as nitrous oxide or prescribe anti-anxiety medication to help you relax during the procedure.

Can I eat or drink before a dental cleaning?

It’s best to avoid eating or drinking anything before a dental cleaning, especially if you’re getting a fluoride treatment. Food and drink can interfere with the effectiveness of the fluoride treatment.

Experience a Comfortable Visit With Our Seattle Dentist

A dental cleaning appointment is crucial to help maintain good oral hygiene and prevent dental problems. By understanding how dental cleaning works and taking care of your teeth after the procedure, you can ensure healthy teeth and gums for years. If you’re in the Seattle area, contact our dentist to schedule your dental cleaning appointment.