Dental Cleaning

Dentist Herndon

The American Dental Association recommends that you visit your dentist for a routine checkup and dental cleaning once every six months. That is assuming that you do not have any special dental problems that require more frequent appointments. Regular dental cleanings, in combination with your own brushing and flossing efforts at home, help to dramatically reduce the odds of developing periodontal disease, more popularly known as gum disease.

Gum Disease

Whether you know it or not, your mouth is always teeming with oral bacteria. Most bacteria is completely harmless, but certain types can damage your teeth and gums. They are not actively attempting to destroy anything in your mouth; instead, the damage that they cause is just a byproduct of their feeding upon sugars that they find in the food that you eat.

The presence of oral bacteria eventually leads to the development of plaque. This sticky film attaches to the teeth and, over time, damages the teeth and gums by creating acidic substances that eat into tooth enamel and irritate the gums, eventually leading to a chronic infection called gum disease. This is what dental cleanings seek to prevent.

The two main elements of a dental cleaning appointment are:

  • Plaque removal
  • Teeth polishing

Plaque Removal​

A dental cleaning usually occurs following a dental exam. Your dental hygienist will be removing plaque deposits on the surface of your teeth. If plaque has hardened into tartar, they will remove that also.

If you have been practicing good oral hygiene at home, it should not take that long to remove all of the plaque from your teeth. To do so, your hygienist will use a special tool that has a hook on the end. This allows them to scrape away plaque from your teeth, which is known as scaling.

Your hygienist will also be removing plaque from your gum line. This is an area that is difficult for patients to clean by themselves at home.


Once all of the plaque has been removed from your teeth, your dental hygienist will be professionally polishing your teeth and flossing them. The polishing part of a dental cleaning appointment is helpful for removing teeth stains and allowing the teeth to feel satisfyingly smooth and clean.

Additional Services

After the completion of your dental cleaning, you may be offered additional services, such as a fluoride treatment. Fluoride treatments are very helpful in strengthening your tooth enamel for the prevention of cavities.

How often should I have my teeth professionally cleaned?

Most dentists recommend that the average patient come in for a dental cleaning appointment every six months. This frequency is recommended for those who already enjoy good oral health and do not have any serious dental problems.

Schedule Your Dental Cleaning

If you have been without a professional dental cleaning for some time, it is likely that you have some accumulations of plaque on your teeth. To get back on track with these critical appointments, we encourage you to contact us at your earliest convenience to schedule your next dental cleaning appointment.