Most teeth cleanings are performed by a dental hygienist. Before the actual cleaning process begins, they start with a physical exam of the entire mouth. The dental hygienist uses a small mirror to check around your teeth and gums for any signs of gingivitis (inflamed gums) or other potential concerns. If they detect major problems, the dental hygienist might call the dentist to make sure it’s fine to proceed.
With the small mirror to guide them, the dental hygienist uses a scaler to get rid of plaque and tartar around your gum line, as well as in between your teeth. You’ll hear scraping, but this is normal. The more tartar there is in your mouth, the more time they’ll need to scrape a particular spot. Brushing and flossing stops plaque from building up and hardening into tartar. Once you have tartar, you can only have it removed at your dentist’s office. So if this is your least favourite part of the teeth cleaning process, the lesson is to brush and floss more often.