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How Long Does a Dental Cleaning Take?

woman having mouth checkup

Regular dental cleanings are an important part of maintaining oral health. However, some people are concerned about having to take time out of their busy day to attend an appointment. Going to the dentist may seem like a hassle, but the good news is that cleanings don’t take long, but provide significant benefits. For optimal benefits, having a cleaning every six months (or every three or four months if needed and your insurance covers it) is recommended.

While the duration of a dental cleaning can vary, influenced by several factors, there is a typical procedure and timeline you can expect.

What Happens During a Dental Cleaning?

A dental cleaning removes plaque and tartar from your teeth and gums. The process begins with a thorough examination by the dentist or dental hygienist. X-rays may be taken to assess the overall health of your teeth and identify any potential issues that may not be visible during the visual examination.

Next, the actual cleaning process begins. The dental hygienist uses specialized tools to remove bacteria-containing plaque and tartar buildup from the surfaces of your teeth and along the gumline. This process, known as scaling, helps prevent gum disease and cavities.

Your teeth are then polished to remove surface stains and smooth the tooth surfaces. This makes it more difficult for plaque and tartar to accumulate again. Finally, a fluoride treatment may be applied to strengthen your teeth and provide additional protection.

Factors Affecting Cleaning Duration

The condition of your teeth and gums plays a significant role in how long your cleaning will take. If you have a healthy oral hygiene routine and visit the dentist regularly, expect the cleaning process to take about an hour. If you haven’t had a professional cleaning in a while, the first visit after a long break may take a bit longer. The amount of plaque and tartar on your teeth directly influences the duration of the cleaning; a heavier buildup takes longer to remove. Those with a history of dental issues may take longer to ensure these concerns are addressed, too. Your dentist and dental hygienist will take as long as necessary, though, to ensure the job is completed properly.

Average Duration and Time Allocation for Cleaning Tasks

On average, a routine dental cleaning typically takes an hour. This includes the examination and X-rays, scaling, polishing, and fluoride treatment. Your time will vary based on your oral health and individual situation.

male sitting clinic computer tomography apparatus tomographic image skull teeth

Why Dental Cleanings Are Important

Regular dental cleanings play a crucial role in maintaining oral health by helping prevent gum disease and cavities by eliminating tartar, plaque, and the bacteria associated with these buildups. Checkups and cleanings also allow for early detection and intervention. Dental issues are avoided, or caught before they can become more significant.

Avoiding Regular Care Could Result in More Time in the Chair

Skipping regular dental cleanings could make you more likely to face serious dental problems that need big and urgent fixes later on. Without those routine cleanings, issues like advanced gum disease or deep cavities can develop, and require longer and more complicated treatments. In addition to taking up more of your time in the dental chair to treat these issues, advanced dental problems are often painful, and treatments tend to be more expensive. Making the time to have regular cleanings is an investment in saving time and discomfort later on.

Appointments That Feel Shorter

If you are concerned about how long the procedure will take because of dental anxiety or because you find it a hassle, it helps to shift from thinking about how much a dental cleaning is going to take time out of your day and instead focus on the benefits to your oral health. The potential consequences of neglecting oral health, such as gum disease, cavities, and more extensive dental procedures make it clear that the benefits far outweigh any hassle.

close up a young girl in-a dentists chair undergoes a routine diagnosis after removing

It’s also important to remember that when a dental cleaning takes longer than average, although it might initially seem inconvenient, it also emphasizes that the procedure is especially necessary. Extended cleaning times may be necessary when dealing with severe buildup or other advanced issues. Dental professionals are dedicated to ensuring that your oral health is effectively addressed, even if it requires a more extended cleaning session.

Another helpful idea is to choose a friendly dentist and dental office team you are comfortable with, as this will make the time spent seem shorter and make it easier for you to keep up with regular appointments. 

While taking time out of your busy schedule may seem a hassle, these cleanings don’t take long, but are a critical part of your oral health care

Orchard Park Dental offers friendly, welcoming dental services, conveniently located in Stoney Creek. We make every effort to make you feel more comfortable, so time won’t feel like it’s dragging. Plus, we’ll schedule appointments efficiently, so you don’t lose time waiting for your appointment to start.

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