Blog image

What Does Dental Cleaning Entail?

Few adults enjoy going to the dentist, although more kids love it because of the play areas, the special attention they get during an appointment, and the rewards or prizes they get after a session. Children typically go every six months for regular checkups and cleanings. Fortunately, as far as dental procedures go, dental cleaning is an easy process. Here’s a look at what it involves.

4 Aspects of Kids’ Dental Cleaning

Cleaning is a bit different for children than it is for adults. For instance, dentists and hygienists should take the time to explain the tools they use to their child patients.

1. Dentists or Hygienists Explain the Instruments Using Kid-Friendly Language

Dentists or hygienists begin the appointment by introducing themselves and examining children’s teeth, bites, jaws, and gums. They also show kids correct brushing and flossing techniques. Before the dental cleaning part of the appointment starts, many dentists or hygienists explain each “intimidating-looking" tool and what it does. They might even let kids touch and handle the tools. Being factual and straightforward about the tools shows kids they have nothing to fear. Common tools include:

  • Dentist's spinning toothbrush, also called an electric toothbrush: Dentists use this toothbrush and a special paste to brush away plaque and remove stains. This instrument can be ticklish, so some dentists call it a "tooth tickler." Kids tend to enjoy this descriptor.
  • Saliva ejectors: Also called "Mister Thirsty," a saliva ejector sucks up saliva and water during cleaning.
  • Dental water jet: "Miss Water Whistle" whistles and sprays water throughout a child's mouth to flush out tiny pieces of matter.
  • Fluoride varnish or foam: These vitamins help make children's teeth stronger.

Some kids' dental cleanings also involve X-rays. Dentists explain this process as taking pictures of the teeth. X-ray technology is pretty amazing, and adults and children alike enjoy seeing their teeth and jaws from new perspectives.

We always use lead aprons and high-speed film to keep radiation levels as low as possible.

2. Parental Help Is Critical

If you’re afraid of the dentist, your child may pick up on your fear. Talk to your kids positively before cleanings. Explain that dental health is critical and that dentists will look at the kids' teeth and use special tools to clean them.

Let the dentists know ahead of time or at the appointment about your child's personality and anything that could help the dental cleaning go better

3. The Cleanings Should Start When Children Are Toddlers

Ideally, kids would begin dental cleanings between 12 and 36 months, although they should have already visited the dentist for checkups. From age 1-4, most “cleanings” will be in a parent’s lap and an exam and toothbrush prophy will take place. By toddler age, usually around age 4, children have all their baby teeth. Starting cleanings at this time helps prevent excessive plaque and tartar buildup.

4. Children Typically Get a Prize or Reward After the Cleaning

Post-appointment, children usually get to choose a prize. They also go home with toothbrushes, floss, and other toothcare items. Adult and kids' dental cleanings should occur every six months. Contact Duffy Dental Ranch today to make an appointment for your child.