What Can I Expect During a Teeth Cleaning?

Grand Rapids MI Teeth Cleaning Dentist

In general, we recommend that you schedule a teeth cleaning with us at least every 6 months. That way, we’re able to remove tartar buildup and detect small issues before they have a chance to worsen.

Your appointment is also a great opportunity to ask Dr. Nichols any questions you may have about your oral health. Our dentist would be more than happy to give you tips on how to maintain a healthy smile.

In the meantime, here’s what you can expect during your next teeth cleaning at Nichols Family Dentistry.

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. Nichols. If they detect no issues, they’ll move onto the next step.

Dental X-Rays

We may need to take new dental X-rays depending on how long it’s been since your last ones. But it’s important to remember that each patient is different.

For example, you may need X-rays as often as every 6 months if you have a high risk of tooth decay or other conditions that require close monitoring. Other patients may only need dental X-rays every two years.

X-rays can help us detect many issues, including:

  • Small areas of decay between your teeth
  • Bone loss in the jaw
  • Dental abscesses
  • Changes in your root canals
  • Cavities hiding underneath fillings
  • Impacted wisdom teeth

Plaque and Tartar Removal

Our hygienist will use a special dental tool called a scaler to gently remove plaque and tartar. While you can remove plaque at home by brushing and flossing, the same can’t be said of tartar. Only a dental professional will be able to remove tartar during your next teeth cleaning appointment.

Teeth Polishing

Next, the hygienist will have you choose what flavor tooth polish you want. Some common flavors include cinnamon, bubblegum, and mint. But it depends on what we have available during the time of your appointment.

Tooth polish is similar to toothpaste but has a gritty texture. This ensures a deep clean so we can remove all traces of plaque and tartar. It’ll also help your teeth feel clean and smooth.


After polishing your teeth, our hygienist will floss. This is to ensure that we remove any plaque and food particles that could be hiding between teeth.

If the hygienist notices any blood on the floss, they’ll be sure to bring it up with you as this could be a sign of gingivitis. They’ll also mention it to the doctor when he comes in for the oral examination.

Oral Examination

As the final step, Dr. Nichols will examine your teeth, gums, and X-rays. If he detects any problems, he’ll provide you with a diagnosis and recommend an appropropriate course of treatment to restore your oral health.

If you have any questions about dental hygiene, please don’t hesitate to bring them up to our dentist. Dr. Nichols will listen carefully to your questions and provide you with the information you need to take control of your dental health.

Appointment Scheduling

In general, we space out your appointments every 6 months. But it’s important to remember that each patient is different. For example, you may need to see Dr. Nichols more often if he needs to closely monitor a dental health condition, such as periodontitis.

Call Nichols Family Dentistry

Dr. Nichols is an experienced family dentist in Grand Rapids, MI. As such, he’s helped patients of all ages maintain healthy teeth and gums for life.

To request an appointment, please call Nichols Family Dentistry at (616) 333-8496. You may also fill out our online contact form and someone from our office will reach out to you soon.

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