Dental care anxiety is a major problem for many people. Even a regular dental cleaning can be problematic due to the noise and sensations that come along with it. If you cannot deal with the cleaning, you may suffer from serious dental problems from lack of care. To help better cope with a dental cleaning, it may be helpful to learn exactly what happens during a cleaning. The following are the typical things that happen during a dental cleaning:

Complete Oral Exam

Prior to the cleaning process, a dental hygienist will thoroughly exam your mouth. They will look for signs of decay, plaque buildup, and other issues you might have. The hygienist uses tools, such as a small mirror to exam your teeth. You may also have some x-rays to see any issues you may have inside the tooth tissue and into the gums.


After the examination, the scaling process begins. During scaling, the hygienist will remove the plaque and any tartar from the teeth. This buildup is difficult to get off your teeth at home with normal tooth brushing and flossing. The hygienist uses the mirror, and a tool called a dental scaler. You will notice some scraping sounds on your teeth and feel a slight sensation. The scaling process does not hurt at all, and the process is fairly quick depending on how much plaque and buildup is on your teeth.

Dental Cleaning

The next part of the process is the cleaning. This is essentially like a deep tooth brushing. You will hear a loud buzzing sound of the dental cleaning tool. The tool is like a high-speed toothbrush but has a rubber head rather than bristles. The cleaner will help get rid of the rest of the plaque buildup. The hygienist uses a gentle, texturized toothpaste on the head of the cleaner. The texture in the toothpaste polishes your teeth while cleaning.

After the cleaning, the hygienist will floss your teeth. The hygienist will do a deep flossing to help get everything out from between the teeth. If you have sensitive gums, this part may be uncomfortable.

Dentist Examination

Once the cleaning process is over, the hygienist will then call the dentist in to check your teeth. If you have any cavities or other issues that need attention, they will determine a treatment plan for you and schedule you to come back to have that work done.