Professional teeth cleanings are a necessary part of maintaining your dental and oral health. Dentists and dental health experts recommend having your teeth cleaned every 6 months. If you’re not already keeping this schedule, you may have some questions, such as: how long does a teeth cleaning take? Here’s what you can expect.
Average Length of a Teeth Cleaning
An average teeth cleaning takes about 30 minutes. This is the average for someone who has relatively clean teeth, such as a patient who is under regular care by a dentist. If you haven’t been to the dentist for a cleaning in a long time, your first cleaning may take longer, possibly an hour or more. This is because plaque that remains on the teeth for long periods of time will harden into tartar/calculus, which is more difficult to remove.
What Does a Teeth Cleaning Entail?
A routine teeth cleaning at your dentist’s office includes:
- Plaque removal. Using special tools your dental hygienist and also your dentist will remove plaque (and calculus if there is any) from your teeth. The dental hygienist will typically do the majority of the plaque removal and the dentist will do a final check at the end and remove any additional plaque they find.
- Flossing. Your dental hygienist will also floss your teeth as part of your teeth cleaning to remove plaque from between your teeth and the pockets between your teeth and gums.
- Polishing. Using a rotating brush/buffer tool your hygienist will polish your teeth to smooth the surface of the enamel and prevent spaces for plaque to settle.
- Oral exam. In addition to a teeth cleaning, your dentist will perform a thorough oral examination. The purpose is to identify any oral health concerns, including abnormalities that could indicate oral cancer.
- X-Rays. Every other teeth cleaning appointment will include X-Rays to identify cavities or problems below the gums. X-Rays are typically taken once a year.
- Fluoride treatment. Your dentist may recommend a fluoride treatment, such as a varnish that is applied to the teeth. Fluoride can help strengthen your tooth enamel to prevent decay and reduce sensitivity.
What is a Deep Teeth Cleaning?
When someone goes a long time without having their teeth cleaned, a deep cleaning may be necessary. This will entail plaque removal and the other items listed above, but may also include scaling and root planing, especially if periodontal (gum) disease has set in. Scaling is the process of removing plaque and calculus from the surface of the teeth and under the gums. Root planing is a procedure that smooths the surface of the tooth roots so that the gum tissue can form a tighter bond and prevent plaque from getting into the spaces between the roots and the gums.
How Long Does a Deep Cleaning Take?
A deep teeth cleaning can take an hour or more, depending on the extent of the cleaning that is needed. Once you’ve had a deep cleaning, your following teeth cleanings should not take as long. If you keep up with your dentist’s recommended cleaning schedule you can improve your oral health and reduce the length of your teeth cleanings.
Are Teeth Cleanings Covered By Insurance?
Dental insurance typically covers routine dental cleanings every 6 months. X-Rays are typically covered once a year. If you don’t have insurance, dental cleanings are still affordable. Flexible payments and financing are available to make the cost more affordable. The cost of dental cleanings is much less than many more complex dental procedures that can result from lack of regular cleanings.
Smile Makers Comprehensive Dentistry Provides Dental Cleanings
If you’re in need of a teeth cleaning, schedule an appointment with Smile Makers. We provide regular and deep cleaning as part of our comprehensive dental services. Even if you haven’t been to the dentist in a long time, we can restore your dental and oral health and help you stay on a regular schedule for cleanings and exams in the future.
Call 334-398-6733 today to schedule or request an appointment.