Routine dental cleaning and check-up
Gentle, professional teeth cleaning at a time that is convenient for your schedule
We provide regular dental cleanings in our Noblesville office for patients with healthy gums or slight inflammation. This type of dental cleaning is called a dental prophylaxis (commonly referred to as a prophy) and is meant to reduce any inflammation and clean plaque and slight calculus (tartar) build-up off the surfaces of teeth. Regular cleanings ensure that your bone and gums stay healthy. Over time if plaque and light calculus is not consistently removed through excellent oral hygiene and regular dental cleanings, a person can develop.
So what exactly does a dental cleaning entail. After updating your medical history, the first thing we will do is take measurements around all of your teeth. This checks for periodontal disease or any areas we need to work on a little extra during your cleaning. We will then use our specialized hand instruments and ultrasonics to safely remove any build-up around your teeth. Our hygienist will carefully check over your teeth to make sure all traces of plaque and calculus have been removed. After removing any build-up, our hygienist will polish and floss your teeth.
We will review oral hygiene instructions and one of our dentists will perform a comprehensive oral examination. Your exam will include an oral cancer screening, soft-tissue exam, evaluation of gum health, and checking for any cavities. At the end of the appointment, you have the option of having fluoride varnish placed on your teeth. Fluoride varnish works by remineralizing small areas of decay that are started in the enamel. These small cavities can be repaired without drilling on your teeth if we catch them early enough. Digital radiographs (X-rays) are taken periodically at your cleaning appointments to check for cavities in between your teeth, the start of bone loss, and any potential infection.
Common questions patients have about dental cleanings.
- How long does a dental cleaning take?
We schedule dental cleanings for adults for 1 hour and dental cleanings for kids for 30 minutes. Allowing plenty of time allows us to do a very thorough job, answer any questions your may have, and gives our doctors plenty of time to not only complete your exam but also visit a little bit.
- How often should I have my teeth cleaned?
We recommend most people with good oral hygiene have their teeth cleaned every 6 months. People who have periodontal disease often come to see us every 3 to 4 months to stay on top of the bone loss. We may recommend more frequent cleanings if your child has braces to help avoid cavities. Dr. Hopkinson and Dr. Sullivan are happy to give you their honest, professional recommendation.
- Do I have to get x-rays?
Dental x-rays are necessary periodically to check for cavities, bone loss, and other abnormalities. At your initial appointment, our doctors will need x-rays to review your oral health and provide any treatment recommendations. Cavities often start in between your teeth where it is nearly impossible to see clinically in your mouth until the cavities are very large. Dental x-rays allow us to catch cavities when they are small and then provide treatment recommendations. Small cavities can sometimes be remineralized through better oral hygiene, improvements in diet, and increased fluoride on your teeth. It is better to catch a cavity when it is small than to let it get large and end up requiring more costly and time-consuming treatment. Our panoramic x-rays allow us to evaluate your bone, check for any signs of tooth infection, and check for any tumors or cysts.
We will look at you as an individual when determining what x-rays are needed. Things we look at when recommending what dental x-rays are needed include medical history, diet, previous cavity history, reports of pain, chewing sensitivity, cold sensitivity, and reports of sweet sensitivity.
- Can I eat after having fluoride placed?
It is ok to eat or drink after fluoride varnish has been placed, but we do recommend that you avoid hot drinks for a couple hours after your dental cleaning to allow the fluoride to stay in place longer.
- What age should my kid come for their first dental cleaning and check-up?
We follow the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry's Guidelines and recommend your child's first dental visit to be when your child's first tooth erupts or by the age of 1. This appointment is truly a "happy visit." We will brush your child's teeth if they let us, review oral hygiene, discuss diet, and answer any questions you have. Of course they will get to pick a prize from our toy prize truck! At subsequent appointments, we focus on continuing to build a positive relationship with your child. We slowly do a little more each appointment until the child is completely comfortable at the dentist and enjoys coming to get their teeth cleaned. We want the dentist to be a place that is fun!