From Start to Finish: Your Regular Dental Cleaning

February 15, 2021

Filed under: Blog — Tags: , , — southlakedental @ 10:03 am

We’ve all had a dental cleaning done before (and if not, you’re way overdue to see a dentist) but do you really know what they’re doing while you’re in that chair? There are several components and steps that go into a dental cleaning, and we’re breaking down the entire process from start to finish.

Before we dive in, it’s important to be aware that it is totally normal if your dentist probably doesn’t actually perform your dental cleaning. This is where our amazing dental hygienists shine! Our hygienists are trained specifically to perform cleanings and are great at what they do.

1. Dental Exam

Your dental cleaning will begin with an exam of your entire mouth and all of your teeth. This is the part when your dental hygienist uses a tiny mirror to examine your teeth and gums. What he or she is really doing is looking for signs of gingivitis. If your teeth and gums look healthy, your hygienist will proceed to the next step. If your gums are inflamed or swollen, they may call in your dentist for a second look. 

2. Plaque and Tartar Removal 

Next, comes the removal of plaque and tartar. This is an essential step of a dental cleaning and leaves your teeth feeling squeaky clean. Again, your hygienist will use the same mirror and a scalar to rid the gum line of plaque and tartar. The scalar makes a scraping sound as it is used to scrape away all the bad stuff and can cause a bit of soreness if you have a lot of plaque and tartar on your teeth. However, this step should be a breeze if you brush and floss twice daily!

3. Clean and Polish

During this step your hygienist uses a gritty toothpaste, sometimes mint or bubble gum flavored, and a special electric toothbrush to polish the surfaces of your teeth. But don’t let the sound of the brush frighten you, this part is painless ( it might even tickle a little). Keep in mind that this kind of cleaning is safe to do once or twice a year but is too harsh to be done more often than that and should only be done by professionals in a dental office. 

4. Floss

The fourth step to a thorough dental cleaning is flossing. Dental hygienists are expert flossers and will be sure to remove anything that might have been missed during the plaque and tartar removal step. If you notice that your gums bleed during this step, it’s likely a sign that you should start flossing more often at home. 

5. Rinse 

This is the final step of your cleaning. Your hygienist will give your mouth a thorough rinse to rid of any toothpaste or debris leaving your mouth feeling extra clean and fresh.

Now that you know the steps of a dental cleaning, we hope you feel prepared for your next visit. Missed your last cleaning? You can easily set up an appointment on our website

Are Dental Sealants Right for You?

August 15, 2017

Filed under: Blog,Dental Health — Tags: , , — southlakedental @ 3:58 pm

During one of your cleanings, your dentist or hygienist might suggest that you get dental sealants. Sealants are also commonly recommended for children as their permanent molars grow in. Have you wondered what sealants are? And if your dental insurance doesn’t cover them, do you want to know if paying for them out of pocket is worth it? Read on for valuable information you should know.

What Are Dental Sealants?

Sealants are a type of liquid filling material that go into the grooves on the biting surfaces of the molars. Because many people have deep pits and grooves in their molars, sealants can prevent bacteria from getting into these deep grooves where they can multiply and cause dental decay. For children, sealants are usually put on as the permanent molars erupt, preventing decay from occuring in the first place. For adults, they’re generally offered only to those with deep pits.

What Is the Procedure Like?

You won’t need any type of anesthetic if you have sealants placed. It’s a quick and non-invasive procedure. First, your hygienist or dentist will clean out the grooves of your teeth by spraying them with water and air. Then, they’ll apply an etching material, which prepares the surface for the filling material. A small amount of material is dripped onto the tooth, and it’s cured with an ultraviolet. The procedure is repeated for each molar being treated. Throughout the procedure, you’ll have a suction straw and cotton rolls in your mouth to keep saliva from contaminating the area.

Will Dental Insurance Cover Dental Sealants?

Many dental insurance carriers will cover the procedure for children under a certain age. They might or might not cover it for adults. Even if yours doesn’t, however, paying for sealants is often less expensive than paying your copay for fillings, root canals, and crowns that might become necessary if you were to develop decay. In addition, sealants are much less invasive than fillings and maintain the integrity of the tooth.

If you have questions about any procedure your dentist recommends, including dental sealants, don’t be afraid to ask! You can ask during your appointment or call us later with any questions.