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Everyone at the office is very friendly and helpful, and the technicians are great. I feel like Westerville Dental is very much on top of the latest screening and monitoring techniques, and I really appreciate the thoroughness of the appointments in terms of measuring gum health as well as tooth health. I chose this place when I moved down here based on the good reviews, and I haven't been disappointed.
So professional AND friendly. I know that I am getting the best care for my whole family. Plus, the waiting area is beautiful and comfortable--like a living room!--with a special area for young ones to read and draw on the chalk boards.
So glad I found this office when I moved back to Ohio. I’ve had so many bad experiences at the dentist, this place is understanding and open to my questions, they explain everything and it really seems like they care. They also have an open and inviting waiting room that is beautiful.
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Dental cleanings play an important role in dental health, and can even influence your overall health. Dental professionals typically recommend in-office teeth cleaning twice a year to reduce the risk for gum disease and tooth decay. Unfortunately, a number of patients skip dental cleanings – many have busy lifestyles and worry that dental cleanings take too long. The good news is that dental cleanings may not take as long as you might think.
Brushing and flossing are essential to oral health, of course, as they remove the food debris, bacteria and plaque that cause gum disease and tooth decay. As bacteria in your mouth feeds on sugar and starch in your food, they produce acid that can damage tooth enamel. Food particles can also combine with saliva to create bacteria-rich plaque, a clear sticky film that adheres to the surfaces of your teeth. Brushing and flossing easily removes bacteria and plaque.
Left in place for just 24 to 72 hours, though, plaque can combine with minerals in saliva to form tartar. Unlike plaque, which is relatively easy to remove, tartar is a very hard substance that stubbornly sticks to teeth. Tartar builds up between teeth and at the gum line, where it irritates and inflames gums to cause gum disease. In time, pockets can develop between the teeth and gums, providing a rich environment for bacterial growth below the gum line. Acids from the bacteria can attack the bone and tissue holding teeth in place, which can lead to tooth loss.
Unfortunately, you cannot remove tartar at home – professional dental cleanings are the only way to remove this harmful tartar.
How Long Does a Cleaning Take?
The quick answer is 30 to 60 minutes. However, a number of factors can influence how much time a dental cleaning can take. These factors include:
- Your dental health
- The condition of your teeth
- The experience of your dental team
Dental health is an important factor in the length of time it takes to clean teeth. If your teeth and gums are healthy, free from gum disease, and clear of plaque and tartar, your dental cleaning visit will be short. Your appointment may take longer if you have difficult-to-remove tartar or gum disease.
The condition of your teeth can affect the amount of time required for professional cleaning. Teeth that are broken or decayed are more difficult to clean, and may therefore require more time.
The experience of your dental team plays an important role too. An experienced dental hygienist knows how to remove tartar quickly and safely, for example.
Elements of Professional Teeth Cleaning
Professional dental cleanings involve several steps. Each step takes time, but the amount of time each step takes depends on a variety of factors. In some cases, you can reduce the amount of time each step requires.
Examination of your teeth and gums, and evaluation of your oral health
Cleaning typically starts with a thorough examination of your mouth. To do this, your dental hygienist uses a small mirror to check for signs of oral problems, such as inflamed gums, plaque, tartar buildup, and dark spots on teeth. This examination helps the hygienist identify problem areas to address during the cleaning. The hygienist will alert your dentist about any cavities, gum disease, or other serious issues. The amount of time this takes depends on the overall health of your teeth and gums.
Next, your dental hygienist uses a small hook-shaped tool to remove plaque and tartar from the surface of teeth, between teeth, and near the gum line. In some cases, a dental hygienist uses an ultrasonic scaler that uses the power of water and vibration to remove plaque. The length of time to perform this part of the procedure depends largely on the amount of plaque and tartar present.
Polishing and flossing
Using a handheld electric tool and gritty toothpaste, known as prophylaxis paste, your hygienist polishes your teeth. Polishing helps your teeth look their best, but it also prevents the buildup of plaque and tartar on the surface of your teeth. Your hygienist then flosses your teeth to remove any remaining plaque and paste from between your teeth.
In some cases, your dental hygienist will recommend fluoride treatment at the end of the teeth cleaning process. Fluoride is a natural mineral that helps keep tooth enamel strong; while many municipalities add fluoride to the drinking water, many people benefit from fluoride treatments. These treatments involve wearing a mouthpiece filled with a fluoride gel for about one minute, so the treatment will not add much time to your overall dental cleaning. Fluoride gels are available in a variety of pleasant flavors, so the treatment is comfortable as well.
How to reduce the amount of time it takes for a typical dental cleaning
At Westerville Dental Associates, we understand that you have a busy lifestyle, so we do our best to clean your teeth as quickly, efficiently, and thoroughly as possible. Here are a few ways you can speed up your cleaning while getting the most out of your office visit:
- Fill out any necessary paperwork ahead of time
- Bring a written list of all prescription, non-prescription and supplements you take, along with a list of any recent or ongoing illnesses or hospitalizations
- Keep your teeth in the best condition possible through regular brushing and flossing
- Undergo professional dental cleaning twice a year
Our dental professionals at Westerville Dental Associates have the training, expertise and tools to provide dental cleanings in the fastest, most efficient way possible while still providing exceptional results.