Teeth Cleaning - Prophylaxis procedures
Your dentist will use several instruments to help clean your teeth. Usually, he begins the cleaning with an ultrasonic cleaner. This instrument uses ultrasonic waves to make your teeth vibrate and loosen plaque and debris. The ultrasonic cleaner is also connected to a water hose so that it sprays water over your teeth as it moves. This allows the cleaner to wash away the plaque as it loosens it. The cleaner itself has a round tip that gently tickles the teeth. You should never feel any pain or sharpness while your dentist is using this instrument. Your dentist can adjust the cleaner if the vibrations are too strong for you.
After finishing with the ultrasonic cleaner, your dentist will switch to using hand tools called periodontal scalers and curettes. These curved tools are meant to match the shape of most teeth. The dentist uses them to gently scrape any tartar off of your teeth that was not removed by the ultrasonic cleaner. This may feel slightly uncomfortable because the dentist has to use a little bit of pressure to scrape your teeth, but it shouldn't cause major discomfort. If your gums are very sensitive, your dentist may apply a topical analgesic before using the hand tools so that you won't feel as much pain.
Finally, your dentist uses a polisher on the surface of your teeth. This polisher is similar to a toothbrush, but it has a rubber cup on the end instead of bristles. The dentist uses gritty toothpaste called prophylaxis along with this tool to effectively polish your teeth. Some dentists give a fluoride treatment after finishing the main cleaning; this requires the dentist to place gel over your teeth for about 30 seconds, after which you have to rinse and spit until the fluoride is gone. Your dentist will use a special tray to hold the fluoride and put it over your teeth. Fluoride is meant to strengthen your teeth.