Why Are People Scared of Teeth Cleanings?

Why Are People Scared of Teeth Cleanings?

Mar 04, 2020

Some people believe teeth cleaning is a simple and painless process. Unfortunately, many do not hold a similar view and believe the procedure is dreadful. They are scared of the prodding, strange noises, and occasional jaw discomfort which makes them apprehensive.

Understanding exactly what can be expected during the process can help to ease the stress for many people and help them to enjoy minty-fresh results. Let us look at why people should not be scared about teeth cleanings.

The Process Begins with a Physical Exam

Dental hygienists are performing most teeth cleanings but before beginning the cleaning process they conduct a physical exam of the patient’s entire mouth. The dental hygienist makes use of a small mirror to check around the teeth and gums for any symptoms of inflamed gums (gingivitis) and any other potential problems. Patients displaying signs of problems with their gums may be suggested periodontal screenings with advanced sonic technology. If major problems are detected the dental hygienist may call the dentist to verify whether it is safe to proceed.

Plaque and Tartar Removal

Using the small mirror for guidance the dental hygienist uses a scaler to remove any plaque and tartar around the gum line as well as between the teeth. Patients will hear scraping noises which are quite normal. The quantity of tartar in the mouth will determine how much time the dentist will need to scrape a particular spot.

Brushing and flossing properly can prevent plaque from building and hardening into tartar. When tartar develops it can only be removed at the dentist’s office. This may not be considered as a favorite part of the cleaning process by most patients but should be a reminder to brush and floss regularly.

Cleaning with a Gritty Toothpaste

After the teeth have been freed from tartar the hygienist will brush them with a high-powered electric toothbrush that will make a grinding noise. The noise made by the toothbrush will appear scary but it is a great way of performing a deep clean that helps to remove any tartar remaining despite using the scaler.

Toothpaste that smells and tastes like regular toothpaste is used during most professional cleanings though patients will be offered options to choose flavors. However, the gritty consistency of the toothpaste gently scrubs the teeth. When it is performed by a professional the polishing is considered safe to undergo twice a year. Patients are however advised not to attempt something similar at home because they can wear down the enamel.

Flossing Lessons

Nothing can beat an expert flossing lesson from a professional even if patients are flossing regularly at home. The dental hygienist can get deep between the teeth to locate any potential trouble spots where the patient could be bleeding from the gums. The exercise may seem pointless for patients that are flossing regularly at home but professional flossing of the teeth will remove any leftover plaque or toothpaste from the cleaning process conducted earlier.


Patients will be requested to rinse their mouth to get rid of any debris by providing them with a rinse containing liquid fluoride.

Fluoride Treatments

A fluoride treatment is the final step of the cleaning process. The treatment is provided as a protectant to fight against cavities for several months.

Additional Steps

Professional teeth cleanings must be scheduled twice a year while x-rays are normally taken once a year. However, depending on what the dentist or dental hygienist may observe in the mouth they may decide to conduct additional exams during the visit. Dentists offering pediatric service may suggest dental sealants on the back molars to help prevent cavities in difficult to brush areas. Whether patients need additional steps or not it must be remembered that visiting the dentist regularly for teeth cleanings can prevent problems altogether. Patients will feel at ease when they know what to expect ahead of time. Teeth cleanings are not scary at all and apart from the minor discomfort patients feel in the beginning the rest is similar to having their teeth and gums examined by a professional whose only goal is to ensure the oral and overall health of the patient is in prime condition. Therefore it is strongly suggested that patients overcome their fear of teeth cleanings because this is a process specially designed to identify any problems in their mouth and not to cause any pain or discomfort.

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