While we all do the best we can to maintain oral hygiene, only professional teeth cleaning can remove tartar. Formation of tartar all starts with plaque - a soft, sticky layer of millions of bacteria that forms on your teeth after you consume foods containing starches and sugars. The stickiness of the plaque provides a thriving condition for acid to come into contact with your teeth. Too much acidity destroys the tooth enamel and the tooth forms a cavity. If plaque is not removed, it hardens to create tartar, which ends up causing gum disease. The following is the process you should expect when you visit your Winnipeg dental office  for teeth cleaning:

A dental hygienist is a trained professional in teeth cleaning. They will use a small mirror to take a look at all the nooks and crannies of your mouth. As they look around your teeth and gums, they’ll be inspecting to see if there are signs of inflammation, plaque, tartar, and potential cavities.

They will scrape the tartar off your teeth using a tool called a scaler. For minimal amounts of tartar, they use a manual scaler which simply scrapes the deposits off. For large amounts of tartar build-up, dental hygienists use an electronic scaler which scrapes off the tartar using a gentle vibration and streams of water. If you already suffer with gum disease as a consequence of tartar, your mouth may feel a bit sore afterwards. The period of time it takes to scale depends on the amount of tartar build-up.

Polishing is the next step. Using a rubber motorized cup and a special toothpaste, the hygienist will polish your teeth. The goals here are two: to give the teeth a new smooth texture so that in the future, it becomes more difficult for plaque to accumulate on the teeth and the other goal is to remove any unsightly stains, giving you a shiny, clean smile.

The process doesn’t end with polishing. Just like you floss at home, your professional hygienist will give your teeth a thorough flossing to remove any particles between them. As they do so, they will be demonstrating the proper way to floss so you can implement it at home.

After flossing your teeth, you will be given a fluoride treatment using a mouthpiece filled with fluoride foam or gel in your mouth. After a minute, you’ll be asked to rinse your mouth with water. Fluoride is a mineral that strengthens the teeth’s enamel to make them more resistant to acids that cause tooth decay. For dental purposes, fluoride is available in a range of flavours like cherry, strawberry, mint, and chocolate – you’ll be asked to pick your favourite flavour.

Afterwards, the dentist performs a final inspection. They will examine the gums and recommend any further treatment, especially if you have already developed gingivitis. The dentist will also check for other underlying issues and advise you on any areas of concern. 

Teeth cleaning procedures aren’t painful. To decrease sensitivity, you can switch to a desensitizing toothpaste a few weeks before the appointment.