dental cleaning

It’s not uncommon for adults to avoid the dentist because of anxiety, but it’s never a good idea. Your dental health can really go downhill if you don’t visit the dentist regularly. According to AAO, the three oral conditions that most affect overall health and quality of life are cavities, severe gum disease, and severe tooth loss. If you have some dentist anxiety, it’s good to know ahead of time what to expect. This can bring you some relief and help you get the dental care you need. Let’s look at a few things you can expect at your first dental cleaning as an adult.

The Physical Exam

Before you have a cleaning, you will have an oral exam. During this exam, a dental hygienist will use a tiny mirror to check inside your entire mouth, including the backs of your teeth. This is done to check for any signs of gingivitis. If there is a problem, the hygienist will call in the dentist to examine you as well. You can also expect your hygienist to examine your mouth and throat with gloved hands to examine for any abnormalities or lumps. This is to check for oral cancer.

The Removal of Plaque and Tartar

The next part of the visit will be to remove plaque and tartar. The hygienist uses a tool called a scaler to remove plaque and tartar from the gum line. It can also be used between your teeth as well. During this part of the procedure, you might hear scraping. This is normal and completely safe. If there is a large amount of tartar, this step may take longer. You can avoid the build-up of plaque and tartar by brushing and flossing regularly.


You are now ready for the cleaning part of your appointment. A toothpaste will be applied to your teeth, and your hygienist will thoroughly clean your teeth with a high-powered electric brush. This machine does make noise, but it’s essentially a high-tech toothbrush.

Thorough Flossing

Following the dental cleaning, your hygienist will floss your teeth. They are trained in how to floss your teeth the right way and may be able to reach parts of your teeth that you can’t reach at home due to the angles of your mouth. This part may feel uncomfortable if you aren’t accustomed to flossing. Be patient and remember that this is very important for proper dental hygiene.

Rinsing and Fluoride

Your mouth will be thoroughly rinsed out and fluoride will be applied should you request it. This helps to strengthen your teeth and can help fight against cavities. The fluoride treatment will be left on your teeth, and it’s recommended to avoid eating or drinking for at least 30 minutes to give the fluoride time to seal.

While undergoing your first dental cleaning as an adult may seem intimidating at first, you may find that you enjoy your cleanings (especially the clean feeling of your teeth afterward). If you’re in need of professional dental cleaning, please contact us at Lowell Dental Arts today to schedule an appointment. We’re here for all your dental needs!

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