Professional Teeth Cleaning Explained

You simply cannot beat the immediate feeling of having your teeth professionally cleaned.  

A professional clean from one of our experienced dental hygienists will leave your teeth feeling smooth and your mouth feeling fresh.

Many of you will be wondering what a ‘deep clean’ of the teeth would involve. Let us walk you through what an average professional teeth cleaning appointment will look like:

Initial Oral Examination

Dental Hygienists are mainly focused on ‘preventive’ dental health.  This means that they maintain the hygiene of your teeth, treat gum disease, and provide you with education on caring for your teeth, to prevent the development of oral health issues. 

Dental hygienists are also involved in the screening and identification of dental disease, so before starting any procedure, they will examine the inside of your mouth.

While you sit comfortably reclined in the dental chair, the dental hygienist will use a mirror and dental pick to examine your gums, teeth, tongue and soft palate.

During this exam, if there are any issues requiring the attention of the dentist, a referral will be made for you to see one of our dentists during another appointment.

The hygienist will explain what they are seeing in your mouth, and if necessary offer education on how you can improve your oral health with adjustments in your usual teeth cleaning routine.

Plaque and Tartar Removal

Plaque is the sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on teeth. 

Bacteria in plaque produce acids after you eat or drink. These acids can destroy tooth enamel and cause cavities and gum disease. 

Plaque that builds on the surface of the teeth can be easily removed with a good oral hygiene routine at home.  This should include:

  • Brushing teeth twice per day with a soft bristle toothbrush.
  • Brushing for two minutes ensuring you pay attention to all tooth surfaces and gum line.
  • Using a fluoridated toothpaste.
  • Flossing in between teeth once per day, preferably before bedtime.

Even people who follow the best teeth cleaning routine at home will find it difficult to reach plaque which hides between the teeth and below the gum line.  

Eventually, this plaque will turn into hardened tartar, which is even more difficult to remove.

During a professional teeth clean, the dental hygienist will use a specialised ultrasonic scaler, to ‘descale’ your teeth.

Ultrasonic scalers use ultrasound to remove hard deposits from your teeth. The ultrasound causes fast vibrations, which break up hardened deposits.  These deposits are then flushed away with a jet of water.

This is generally not a painful procedure, but there can be sensitivity.  The dental hygienist will monitor your responses to the procedure, and stop if there are signs of discomfort.

In some cases, an individual will opt to have some local anaesthetic to alleviate discomfort in the most sensitive areas of the mouth.  Often this can be done during the same appointment if the dentist is free.  Occasionally a second appointment would need to be made.

During the descaling part of a professional clean, the hygienist will also place a small suction tube at the side of the mouth.  This will suck up excess saliva and the water and debris being cleaned off of the teeth.

The noise associated with this process comes from the descaling machine and suction tube operating simultaneously.  But we promise, they sound more scary than they actually are!

Polishing Teeth

Next, the hygienist will buff and polish your teeth, using a gritty tooth polish and a special high-powered brush. 

Dental cleanings should never hurt, in fact, some patients say that it tickles!

This part of the procedure removes surface stains from your teeth and leaves them feeling smooth and looking shiny and clean.

Flossing Between Teeth

You can breathe a sigh of relief because you have reached the final stage of the professional teeth cleaning process!

For thoroughness, the dental hygienist will remove any plaque remaining between the teeth, by giving them a floss.

At this point, the hygienist will also take the opportunity to show you a good flossing technique, if this is an area of your routine that needs to be brushed up (excuse the pun!).


A visit to the dental centre wouldn’t be complete without a good old rinse and spit!

Using the mouthwash provided, you will be asked to swirl your mouth out, rinsing any residual debris or tooth polish from your mouth.

Frequently Asked Questions on Professional Teeth Cleaning

So now that we have explained the procedure to you, let us address a few frequently asked questions on the subject:

How Long Does a Teeth Cleaning Take?

Typically, an appointment will take up to 45 minutes.  

However, if it’s your first time having your teeth professionally cleaned, or if you haven’t scheduled a visit to us in a while, the procedure may take a little longer.  

In this case, we would schedule a second appointment to complete the procedure, as soon as availability allows.

How Often Should You Have a Professional Teeth Clean?

It is recommended that you have your teeth professionally cleaned at least every 6 months.  

While for most people this is a good rule of thumb, others may be advised to have more regular appointments.

If you are feeling that rough and fuzzy feeling on your teeth that you cannot shift with routine brushing at home, or if you can see a build-up of tartar, it is time to visit the hygienist, regardless of the time that has passed.

What To Expect After A Teeth Clean

After a deep clean of their teeth, most people tell us they cannot stop checking out their shiny bright teeth in the mirror.  

Your teeth will feel beautifully smooth, as you run your tongue over the top of them.

Your mouth will feel fresh and clean.

It is totally normal for the gums to be mildly inflamed after the procedure, especially if you have had gum disease prior to the procedure.  This will improve after a few days and should have resolved after approximately one week.

Some people have increased tooth sensitivity after their teeth have been descaled.  This will also resolve when the gums heal.

How Do I Make an Appointment?

After reading this blog, we know that you will be desperate to try professional teeth cleaning for yourself.

Make your appointment today, by completing this online form.

We look forward to seeing you, and your beautiful sparkly clean smile! 

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