What Can I Expect During a Teeth Cleaning?

Grand Rapids MI Teeth Cleaning Dentist

In general, our dentist in Grand Rapids, MI, recommends that you schedule a teeth cleaning at least every six 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 professional 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 of your dental cleaning.

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 six 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 final dental exam.

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 appropriate course of treatment to restore your oral health. Dr. Nichols may also recommend preventive measures, such as fluoride treatment, to safeguard your smile from future issues.

Oral Hygiene Counseling

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 dental cleanings every six 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.

Schedule Your Next Teeth Cleaning

Dr. Michael Nichols is an experienced dentist in Grand Rapids, MI. As such, he’s helped patients of all ages maintain healthy teeth and gums for life. To schedule your next teeth cleaning and exam, 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.

This blog post has been updated.

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