What Happens During a Teeth Cleaning?

May 3, 2021 Kalamazoo Smiles

kalamazoo mi teeth cleaning dentist

When was the last time you had a professional teeth cleaning? If it’s been more than six months, it’s time to schedule an appointment with our dentist in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

We understand that you may feel a little nervous about seeing the dentist. But we want to help put your mind at ease so you can feel confident and informed during your visit.


Here’s what you can expect during your next teeth cleaning appointment at Kalamazoo Smiles.

Initial Examination

First, one of our dental hygienists will examine your teeth and gums for any obvious issues. If they detect a major problem, they’ll pause the appointment and flag down Dr. Bandos for further instruction.

If they don’t detect anything that requires immediate attention, they’ll move onto the next step.

Dental X-Rays

Depending on how long it’s been since your last X-rays, we may need to take new ones. But keep in mind that each patient is different.

For example, we may need to take dental X-rays every 6 months if you have a high risk of tooth decay or other issues that require close monitoring. Likewise, someone with healthy teeth and gums may only need dental X-rays every two years or so.

Here are some conditions we can detect with dental X-rays:

  • Small areas of decay between teeth
  • Impacted wisdom teeth
  • Bone loss in the jaw
  • Changes in the root canals
  • Dental abscesses

Plaque and Tartar Removal

It’s true that you can remove plaque at home by brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once daily. But only a dental professional will be able to remove plaque that’s hardened into tartar.

During your dental cleaning, the hygienist will use a special tool called a scaler to gently remove plaque and tartar.

Tooth Polishing

We use a high-powered toothbrush and tooth polish to remove any residual plaque from your smile. Unlike the toothpaste you use at home, our tooth polish has a gritty texture so your teeth feel clean and smooth.

The hygienist will ask you what flavor tooth polish you’d like. Some common flavors include cinnamon, mint, and bubblegum. But keep in mind that we may have different flavors available during the time of your teeth cleaning appointment.


Plaque and food particles love to hide where toothbrush bristles can’t reach. That’s why we always floss your teeth after polishing them.

If you have gingivitis, it’s possible that your gums may bleed a little while we floss them. If this is the case, the hygienist will let both you and Dr. Bandos know. That way, you’ll be able to plan out your next steps.

Learn More: What’s the Fastest Way to Cure Gingivitis?

Dental Examination

Dr. Bandos will come in to perform the final dental examination. During the exam, she’ll check your teeth, gums, and any X-rays we may have taken during your appointment. At Kalamazoo Smiles, we’ll always customize your care plan to meet your unique needs. For example, we may apply dental sealants to your back teeth if you have a history of cavities and there’s enough time to fit the procedure into your teeth cleaning appointment.

Treatment Planning As Needed

In the event we detect an oral health issue during your appointment that requires treatment, we’ll start planning out your next steps. That way, you’ll be able to regain a healthy smile as soon as possible. Depending on your circumstances, Dr. Bandos may outline a few different treatment options and offer her best recommendation of how you may wish to proceed. We’ll also schedule your next follow-up appointment with us.

Request an Appointment With Us

Dr. Katherine Bandos is an experienced dentist in Kalamazoo, MI. As such, she’d be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about preventive dental care and other topics. To request an appointment, please call Kalamazoo Smiles at (269) 353-3700. You may also fill out our online contact form and someone from our team will reach out to you soon.

This blog post has been updated.

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