Des Moines: (515) 278-2010
Protecting your most valuable asset—your smile—through regular teeth cleanings can have it last a lifetime. You probably take excellent care of your teeth at home with daily brushing and flossing, but by visiting your dental hygienist and dentist at least twice a year, they will be able to remove built up plaque and tartar that cause cavities and gum disease. Your hygienist and dentist will also be able to identify smaller problems before they become bigger and painful problems.
Your teeth cleaning appointment is the most important appointment to make and keep in order to maintain optimal oral health. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults in the U.S., and routine teeth cleaning appointments are essential for preventing disease and tooth loss. Plus, having your teeth cleaned at least twice each year enables your hygienist and dentist to spot small issues so they can be treated before they develop into major problems. Your teeth cleaning appointment also provides an opportunity to discuss any concerns you may have about your oral health or your home care.
Your teeth cleaning appointment begins with your hygienist updating your x-rays. Then your hygienist (or dentist) will take measurements around your teeth and gums making note of areas where there are deeper pockets. Next, your teeth are cleaned using special instruments and techniques to gently remove plaque and tartar, paying special attention to areas between your teeth and along your gum line where gum and decay causing bacteria tend to hide. As your hygienist or dentist clean your teeth, they will be looking for areas where home brushing and flossing needs to improve and provide guidance to help you improve your technique so your teeth and gums stay healthier between cleaning visits.
A special fluoride paste is used to polish and remove stains from your teeth, bringing out their shine and smooth feel. Once your hygienist is finished cleaning your teeth, your dentist will come in and interpret the updated x-rays. Then your dentist will do an oral cancer screening, which consists of an extra-oral and intra-oral soft tissue exam followed by thoroughly and carefully examining all of your teeth and gums. Your dentist and hygienist will make recommendations base on your dietary habits, what they see on your x-rays, and what they find during your cleaning and exam.
Most patients report little to no discomfort during their teeth cleaning. In fact, many patients have commented on how “it was the gentlest cleaning” they have ever had! However, for patients that have not been maintaining their regular cleanings or do not adequately brush or floss at home, the process can be a little bit uncomfortable. If you are very anxious about visiting the dentist, know you have gum disease or sensitive teeth, then your hygienist can numb your teeth and gums prior to cleaning to make you comfortable.
We know many patients have anxiety when it comes to visiting the dentist and therefore postpone coming in for their teeth cleanings and exams. As a result, small issues turn into big and expensive treatments. Our goal is to give you a relaxed and comfortable experience, and we work hard to make sure you are taken care of.
We recommend you brush your teeth in the morning and brush and floss your teeth at night right before jumping into bed. Use toothpaste with fluoride, such as Crest, Colgate, or Sensodyne, will fight against decay causing bacteria.
Plaque causes cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. The only way to remove plaque from between your teeth is to floss (or use a water flosser). Here is how to floss:
If you notice bleeding while you floss and brush, please see your hygienist and dentist immediately.
A final word from Dr. Trung Phan:
Throughout your teeth cleaning appointment, you may have questions that are not covered above. We will make sure to answer all of your questions and make sure you are comfortable during your teeth cleaning appointment. We love getting questions from our patients! Our goal is to help you preserve your natural smile for a lifetime, because your smile is your best asset!