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Mastering Your Dental Cleaning: How Long Should it Take?

Toronto Smile Centre

Mastering Your Dental Cleaning: How Long Should it Take?

Ever wondered how long a dental cleaning takes? Well, it's not a one-size-fits-all scenario. The duration can vary depending on your oral health and the type of cleaning needed.

A routine cleaning, for instance, typically takes about 30 minutes. But, if you require a deep cleaning, you're looking at around an hour. This is because a deep cleaning involves a more thorough process, with the dentist meticulously cleaning each quadrant of your mouth.

Remember, it's not about speed but about maintaining that bright and healthy smile. So, whether it's a quick in-and-out or multiple appointments, maintaining regular dental cleanings is a crucial part of your oral health regime.

Factors that Determine the Duration of a Dental Cleaning

As you maintain your healthy smile, the time you spend in the dentist's chair can vary. A few key factors play into the duration of a dental cleaning.</>

Type of Cleaning Required

Your visit typically kicks off with a basic prophylaxis cleaning. This involves the removal of plaque and tartar, tooth polishing, flossing and fluoride treatment. But, if you're dealing with more serious oral health issues like gum disease, haven’t had a cleaning in several years or have an excessive tartar build-up, you might require a more specialized cleaning. This, naturally, takes a bit longer - about an hour or so, depending on how extensive a cleaning is needed.

Presence of Any Dental Issues

Next up, we've to consider the state of your current oral health. If your dentist identifies any issues during your visit - be it tooth decay, damaged teeth or gum infections - they'll perform a more comprehensive examination. This could potentially prolong your visit. For example, if a cavity is detected, your dentist will need to make sure the tooth decay is under control, adding some extra time to your appointment.

Frequency of Dental Visits

Finally, how often you visit the dentist can affect the length of your cleaning. The Canadian Dental Association recommends two dental exams annually where your dentist will perform a full physical examination after the cleaning process. If you're sticking to this recommendation, you're likely to breeze through your visits since regular cleanings prevent the build-up of plaque and tartar that can extend cleaning time.

close up medical dentist procedure of teeth polish

Steps Involved in a Typical Dental Cleaning

After understanding the aspects clearly, the process won't appear as daunting as it may seem initially.

Dental Examination

Initially, your dentist will perform a thorough oral examination. They’ll not only examine the state of your teeth but also look for signs of cavities or gum disease. Using a small mirror as their guide, they'll probe around to check for any signs of anomalies. It's important to recognize that the frequency of these visits plays a key role in maintaining oral health.

Dental statistics reveal that regular dental visits can reduce the need for extensive cleaning sessions.

Plaque and Tartar Removal

Next, the dentist or dental hygienist attending to you will remove plaque and tartar from your teeth. Yes, even if you strive for perfect oral hygiene at home, plaque can still build up over time. Missed spots accumulate both plaque: a sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth, and tartar: the hardened plaque that can only be professionally dismissed. You'll witness an array of tools, but the most commonly used one is a scalar. Dental professionals use this to scrape off the excess dental plaque and tartar from your teeth. This process helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

Remember, the timeframe of the cleaning can extend if there's significant buildup. So, it's vital to keep up with your oral care routine to avoid time-consuming visits.

Teeth Polishing

The final step in a dental cleaning session involves polishing your teeth. With a specially designed electric toothbrush and gritty toothpaste, dental hygienists ensure that any remaining plaque, stains, and tartar are efficiently removed.

Post-polishing, your teeth may also undergo flossing and a fluoride treatment for added protection against decay. Though these steps may sound extensive, on average, a dental cleaning takes approximately 30 to 60 minutes.

Tips for a Quicker and More Efficient Dental Cleaning

When it comes to keeping your appointment short and sweet, there are a couple of things you can do. Understanding that your behaviour contributes a great deal toward the length of your visit can certainly help you have an efficient and relatively quick dental appointment. Let's jump into it.

close toothbrush blue background

Maintain Good Oral Hygiene Habits

It's of great importance that you maintain daily oral hygiene habits. Brushing your teeth twice each day is a fundamental habit, crucial for maintaining good oral health. Ideally, you want to ensure that this happens after every meal, but if that’s not possible brushing your teeth before bedtime is particularly important to rid the mouth of the day's worth of accumulated bacteria and food residue.

Also, flossing on a daily basis aims to target and clean those hard-to-reach areas in-between your teeth where a toothbrush alone cannot reach. The intention is to eliminate the plaque and food particles, helping to tackle tartar formation which, if left unchecked, harbours bacteria that may lead to gum disease. Keep in mind, the cleaner you keep your teeth, the less work your hygienist will need to do.

Quick reminder: Calculus forms when plaque remains on your teeth and hardens. So, an essential part of your oral health job is also to eliminate any plaque at-home through regular tooth brushing and flossing. The more often you're able to remove plaque from your teeth, the lesser the chances of it turning into calculus.

Communicate Any Concerns with Your Dentist

It's no doubt, quick and efficient communication with your dentist plays a pivotal initial role in the overall length of your dental cleaning appointment. When you're proactive in providing updates about your oral health or any potential issues, it allows your dentist to address these early on, preventing any unexpected extensions during the cleaning process.

Before your dentist commences the procedure, let them know if there's been any pain, sensitivity, or noticeable change since your last visit. This upfront information can help a faster diagnosis, allowing for targeted treatment. By communicating any concerns or symptoms beforehand, your dentist can focus on areas of concern first, better leveraging the time you have during your visit.

Also, ensure you stick with the professional dental cleaning appointments recommended by the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) and the dental team at Toronto Smile Centre, which is twice a year. Regular visits allow for consistent monitoring of your oral health, making it easier to deal with potential issues when they are yet to become grave.

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