One of the most important parts of oral healthcare is visiting the dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups. This should be done every six months. By giving your dentist the opportunity to take a look at your teeth, gums, and jawbone regularly, they’ll be able to catch oral health issues early on and stop them before they progress. During your dental cleaning, your dentist will also be able to provide you with a professional cleaning using tools you don’t have access to at home.

If it’s been a while since you’ve had your last cleaning and checkup, you may be nervous about scheduling one. Don’t be! While it may be a little more uncomfortable than it would be if you visited regularly, the process isn’t as bad as you may think it is. It will also help you to avoid uncomfortable procedures in the future.

If you don’t have an appointment for your regular cleaning and checkup, reach out to Kelly Road Dental. We’ll get an appointment in the books for you!

What is a Dental Cleaning?

If you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, you may not remember what the dental cleaning process entails. It’s pretty simple. First, your dentist will perform an exam. They will take a look at your teeth and gums and check for inflammation, dark spots, and other signs of damage, infection, and decay. They may also perform x-rays. If they determine there are problems, they will discuss the issues with you and potential solutions.

After the exam, your dentist will use a scaler and a small mirror to start cleaning your teeth. A scaler is a metal tool that removes tartar and plaque from between your teeth and around your gums. Sometimes a dentist will use an ultrasonic scraper instead of a metal scaler. If you have tartar buildup, it will take a little longer to clean.

Once the scraping phase is complete, your dentist will brush your teeth with an electric toothbrush. Unlike the electric toothbrush you may have at home, this one works at a higher speed and requires the expertise of a dental hygienist. With the help of this toothbrush, any additional plaque and tartar will be removed. The prophylaxis cleaning paste is grainier and grittier than normal toothpaste but smells and tastes similar to regular toothpaste. This toothpaste comes in different flavors. After your teeth are brushed, they will be polished.

Once the brushing phase is finished, your dentist will floss your teeth expertly. They will make sure to get in-between all of your teeth. Expect some bleeding if you don’t floss often or properly. During this phase, your dentist will take breaks to rinse out your mouth. Flossing helps to get rid of any plaque or toothpaste that is leftover.

Your dentist will use liquid fluoride during your final rinse. This helps to protect your teeth from cavities. Sometimes this rinse comes in different flavors. The fluoride may be a gel or a sticky paste. In order to apply this paste or gel, your dentist will use a mouthpiece. After a minute or so the mouthpiece will be removed, and a fluoride varnish will be applied.

After this, your cleaning will be complete! If your dentist noticed any issues during the exam phase, they will speak with you about a follow-up appointment to address your oral health issues.

You should visit your dentist for a cleaning and checkup every six months.

Are Dental Cleanings Painful? 

Many patients that haven’t been to the dentist for a while are worried about whether or not dental cleanings are painful. While they can be uncomfortable if you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, they generally won’t be painful. While this is the case, the process may be more uncomfortable if you have tooth decay, gum disease, inflammation, or jaw pain.

If you do start to experience pain during the cleaning, let your dentist know that you need a break and that you are experiencing pain.

In order to ensure the least amount of discomfort possible and to speed up the process, take good care of your oral health at home. This means brushing, flossing, and rinsing twice a day, every day. Regularly scheduled appointments will also reduce the chances of pain and discomfort.

Once you’ve had your professional cleaning, you shouldn’t give yourself a break from proper oral healthcare. Continue to brush, floss, and rinse thoroughly. Consider a fluoride or bacteria-killing mouthwash. You may also want to consider an electric toothbrush. While bleeding gums are annoying, it’s still important to floss. If they keep bleeding for more than a few days, reach out to your dentist.

What is a Deep Cleaning? 

If you’ve gone a long time without visiting the dentist, a regular cleaning may not be enough. You may require a deep cleaning. During this process, your dentist will clean below the gumline and perform what is known as a “scaling and root planing” procedure. This will help to prevent periodontal disease and will get rid of the inflammation. While this procedure is a little more time-consuming, it is important to get it done if your dentist recommends it.


The good news is dental insurance will more than likely cover your cleaning. Cleanings and checkups are the most common dental procedures and are preventative. Insurance companies want you to get them done because it saves them from having to pay out more for advanced procedures that occur as a result of not getting professional cleanings. With that said, contact Kelly Road Dental and your insurance company for more information about coverage.

Reach Out to Kelly Road Dental!

If it’s been a while since your last cleaning and checkup, it’s important to get one in the books. Reach out to Kelly Road Dental today! We’ll schedule an appointment for your cleaning and checkup. If you are already a patient, let us know if you would like to schedule your next cleaning (if you haven’t already).

We look forward to speaking with you!