Professional Dental Cleanings

Professional Dental Cleaning

Your child’s cleaning appointment will include a dental exam. Professional dental cleanings (dental prophylaxis) are usually performed prior to the examination by the dentist, and may include the following:

  • Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for some time and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface. Calculus forms above and below the gum line and can only be removed with special dental instruments. For children, there is typically very little, if any, calculus below the gum line.
  • Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. In addition to being the starting point for cavities, the bacteria produce toxins (poisons) that inflame the gums. This inflammation is also the start of periodontal disease!
  • Teeth polishing: Remove stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during routine tooth brushing and scaling.

Dental Exam

A comprehensive dental exam will be performed by your dentist at your child’s dental cleaning visit. At regular check-up exams, your dentist and hygienist may include some of the following:

  • Examination of diagnostic x-rays (radiographs): Essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
  • Oral cancer screening: Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
  • Gum disease evaluation: Check the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.
  • Examination of tooth decay: All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay with special dental instruments.
  • Examination of existing restorations: Check current fillings and sealants.


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