What to expect during your routine dental visit

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February 18th, 2020

If you haven’t been to the dentist in a while or if you experience fear or anxiety before a dentist appointment, it can be helpful to know what to expect. Try not to let routine cleanings and exams scare you. Most visits typically take between 30 minutes and one hour. Once you find a dental office where you feel comfortable, the time will fly by!

Graphic of dentist chair and tooth under a microscope

What will happen during your preventive care visit:

At a routine dentist visit, your teeth will be cleaned, examined for cavities, and X-rays may be taken to detect any cavities between your teeth.

A hygienist will clean your teeth so that they are free of any buildup like plaque or tartar. Since tartar cannot be removed by brushing and flossing at home, your hygienist will use special tools that can remove it. This process is called scaling.

Then, your teeth will be polished to remove any surface stains. This is usually done with a gritty toothpaste.

Your gums will be checked to make sure they are healthy and to detect any early signs of gum disease. Then your dental professional will floss to clear out any plaque that is stuck between your teeth and gums.

Sometimes for new patients, exams and cleanings are broken up between two visits. For patients who have periodontal (gum) disease, it may take more than one appointment to clean the teeth. Your experience may vary based on your unique needs, but your dentist or hygeniest will provide you information and answer questions you may have during your appointment.

The results:

In many cases, just one visit to your dentist can remove surface stains, freshen breath, and clear away plaque and tartar. Regular checkups also allow your dentist to catch any potential issues, infections or diseases in your mouth so that they can be treated right away.

Because of the great impact an in-office cleaning can have on your smile, it’s important to schedule appointments twice per year or as recommended by your dentist. Don’t forget to brush twice per day with fluoridated toothpaste and floss once a day!