At Dentistry of West Bend, our dentist Dr. Jared Harding recommends that most patients schedule at least two dental hygiene appointments each year. In addition to brushing and flossing at home, routine dental cleanings and examinations are essential to every person’s ongoing good oral health.

How Long Does a Dental Cleaning Last?

A routine dental appointment usually takes about 30 minutes to an hour to complete.

What Happens During a Dental Cleaning Appointment?

Knowing what to expect during your dental cleaning appointment can help you prepare yourself and relax if you’re feeling anxious about visiting the dentist.

Initial Oral Examination

Each dental appointment begins with a quick visual examination of your oral cavity. During this examination, one of our dental hygienists uses a special mirror to look inside your mouth for any obvious signs of oral health problems.

If they see any signs of more serious oral problems that could be painful, they can then have Dr. Harding evaluate your mouth before proceeding with your dental cleaning.

Plaque and Tartar Removal

If your oral health looks good following the initial examination, then a dental hygienist begins your cleaning. The first step in a dental hygiene appointment is to remove the plaque and tartar (also called calculus) that accumulate on the surface of the teeth.

We use a special tool called a scaler to remove the accumulation in difficult-to-reach places like between the teeth and along the gum line.

Polishing Teeth

We then use a special, abrasive paste (in a flavor of your choice) and a high-powered brush to polish your teeth. This polishing helps to brighten your tooth enamel by removing surface stains and other discoloration from your teeth.

Flossing Teeth

After polishing, we floss your teeth to remove any lingering plaque and grittiness from the polishing. Additionally, our hygienist can then see if your gums bleed at all as a result of flossing which could indicate poor oral hygiene practices at home and the first signs of periodontal disease.

While flossing your teeth, we also provide you with a few tips and instructions on proper flossing techniques to help you better care for your teeth at home in between your professional dental hygiene appointments.


After flossing, we provide you with water and suction to rinse all the areas of your mouth and remove any paste or other grit leftover from your cleaning. Congratulations! At this point, your teeth cleaning is complete.

Final Oral Examination and Oral Cancer Screening

Once your teeth are cleaned, Dr. Harding examines your teeth and gums for signs of any potential oral health problems. He looks for unusual patterns of wear and tear on your teeth, signs of tooth decay, and signs of gingivitis or periodontal disease.

If you have any dental appliances or dental work in your mouth, he also checks these for any signs of damage or need for repairs.

Additionally, every dental examination includes a quick oral cancer screening where we examine your oral cavity, neck, lips, cheek, tongue, throat, and hard and soft palates for early signs of oral cancer.

Dental X-Rays and Discussion of Additional Treatments

If you’re due for a new set of dental x-rays, we can take them at this time. Dental x-rays allow Dr. Harding to examine your jawbone, the insides of your teeth, and the portions of your teeth and roots that are below the gum line for any signs of concern.

If any oral health problems are detected during your dental appointment, Dr. Harding discusses these issues with you at this time and can answer any questions you have about your diagnosis while also talking with you about your treatment options.

Access the Dental Care You Need – Without the Anxiety

Dental anxiety and fear of visiting the dentist are common problems that afflict many patients, keeping them from seeking the dental care they need. As a result, patients who fear visiting the dentist tend to avoid regular dental cleanings and examinations only to develop worse problems that require more extensive treatments and longer dental appointments.

If you suffer from dental anxiety, we welcome you to talk with the team at Dentistry of West Bend. We do everything we can to help our patients get all the dental care they need to stay healthy.

We can recommend a variety of sedation dentistry options designed to help you relax in the dental chair, in addition to accommodating your needs to make your experience in our office as pleasant as possible. We always welcome our patients to bring headphones and relaxing music to listen to during their appointments. We can even let you take breaks to rest throughout your appointment.

To learn more about sedation dentistry or to schedule an appointment for your next routine dental cleaning and examination, contact us today!