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What Happens During A Professional Teeth Cleaning Grand Rapids

Are you feeling anxious about your upcoming appointment with us? If so, there's no reason to worry! We want to make sure you feel as comfortable and prepared as possible. That's why we’re ready to explain each of the steps you can expect during a professional teeth cleaning.

Let’s get started.

How Long Does a Teeth Cleaning Take?

A teeth cleaning can last between 30 minutes and one hour. During this time, you will lie back in a comfortable dental chair while we examine your teeth. We'll also remove dental plaque and tartar before polishing your enamel with a gentle abrasive paste.

Your appointment may take longer if we need to take X-rays. Likewise, we may need to discuss options for treatment if we discover an issue.

Initial Oral Examination

First, the dental hygienist uses a small mirror to examine the inside of your mouth. If they detect obvious issues, they'll pass that information onto our dentist. But if they find something serious, they may pause the cleaning entirely. They would then immediately consult with our dentist on how to proceed.

Plaque and Tartar Removal

Brushing and flossing your teeth at home is a good way to remove dental plaque. But it can be difficult to reach plaque that’s hiding between teeth and along the gum line. Also, only a dental professional will be able to remove plaque that has hardened into tartar.

A professional teeth cleaning is more thorough than what you can do at home. This is because your hygienist is able to use a special tool called a scaler to gently remove plaque and tartar.

Polishing Teeth

Next, we use gritty tooth polish and a special high-powered brush to polish your teeth. Before starting, the hygienist will ask you to pick your favorite flavor tooth polish.

Dental cleanings should never hurt. So you don't have to feel alarmed by the whirring of the toothbrush.

Flossing Between Teeth

Congratulations! If you’ve gotten this far, you’re almost done with your dental cleaning. As the last step, the dental hygienist will floss your teeth. This will remove any plaque that could be lurking between teeth.

Flossing can also let your dental hygienist know where gum bleeding occurs.


At this point, your dental hygienist will squirt some water into your mouth and ask you to swish. Once you're ready, we use suction to remove the water from your mouth. The rinsing stage helps remove any residual tooth polish.

Final Checkup with Dentist

Once you're done with your professional teeth cleaning, our dentist will come in to do the final checkup. If they don't detect any oral health issues, you’re all set.

The dentist will also be able to answer any questions you might have. Afterwards, we'll ask you to set up your next dental exam and teeth cleaning in six months’ time.

Teeth cleaning side effects include having a beautiful healthy smile. Some patients may experience bleeding gums if they have other oral health issues. For example, patients with gum disease may experience bleeding gums when they floss.

Teeth cleanings are important because they allow us to detect oral health issues before they have a chance to worsen.

Request an Appointment With Us

Dr. Dodds is a family dentist in Grand Rapids, MI. As such, we'd be more than happy to help you maintain a healthy smile for life! To schedule an appointment, call Renew Family Dental at (616) 245-3205.

This blog post has been updated.