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How Long Does a Teeth Cleaning Take?

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A dentist cleaning the teeth of her patient.

Your teeth are one of your most precious assets. They’re for more than a bright smile; they’re an essential part of eating, talking, and expressing yourself. But with all the daily activities that involve our teeth, it’s no surprise that they can quickly become stained and dirty. That’s why regular teeth cleaning appointments are crucial to maintaining a healthy smile. But how long does a teeth cleaning take?

Usually, your teeth cleaning appointment will last 30 minutes to an hour. This can vary depending on your overall dental health, how in-depth the cleaning needs to be, and whether or not your dentist is performing any other treatment or services.

Why Are Regular Teeth Cleanings so Important?

Brushing your teeth regularly is crucial for keeping them healthy, clean, and strong. But even if you brush and floss regularly, there’s a chance you’re not removing everything. Plaque and tartar are 2 factors that can contribute to further dental problems if left unaddressed.

Plaque is a sticky film that constantly forms on your teeth from leftover food particles and bacteria. It’s produced by the bacteria in your mouth that feed on sugars from your food.

If plaque isn’t removed within a day or 2, it hardens into a calcified substance called tartar, also known as calculus. Tartar is much more difficult to remove than plaque and requires professional cleaning by a dentist or hygienist.  If tartar is left on your teeth, it can cause gum disease and tooth decay.

That’s where professional teeth cleaning comes in. During a dental cleaning appointment, a trained hygienist will use specialized tools to remove any plaque or tartar buildup that regular brushing and flossing simply can’t efficiently remove.

You should visit your dentist for professional cleanings at least once every 6 months. This helps catch any buildup of plaque and tartar before they scale into more serious problems like dental disease, decay, or cavities.

What’s Included in a Teeth Cleaning Appointment?

When you visit our team at Shin Dentistry for a dental cleaning, we’ll perform several steps:

  • The initial inspection
  • Plaque and tartar removal
  • Polishing
  • Professional flossing
  • Fluoride treatment

Our team understands that each patient is unique and may have differing needs. So, before beginning any step, we’ll start with a quick chat. This way, we can learn about any concerns you may have or any recent changes to your dental health.

The Initial Inspection

Your teeth cleaning route begins with a comprehensive examination, where we inspect for early signs of decay and other problems that may need extra attention. This step is crucial; it lets us craft a personalized plan for your cleaning procedure.

Plaque & Tartar Removal

After the initial inspection, our team will use specialized tools to remove any difficult-to-remove plaque and tartar that cling to your teeth. This step, known as scaling, is pivotal. It lets us remove potential problems that could further damage your teeth.


Once the plaque and tarter are removed, we’ll deep-clean and polish your teeth using professional-grade gritty toothpaste. This helps remove any leftover buildup and thoroughly cleans your teeth. This also polishes the teeth, leaving behind a smoother surface that plaque and tartar are less likely to cling to.

Professional Flossing

Even if you regularly floss at home, you might miss the occasional spot. With our professional flossing, we make sure to reach every difficult spot between your teeth and along the gumline. This dislodges any residual problems while letting us examine your gums closely.

Fluoride Treatment

To further bolster your tooth enamel and add a protective finish to the cleaning session, we administer a fluoride treatment. This gives your teeth a boost of sorts, helping to protect them against further problems. This process will likely take around 30 minutes but may take up to an hour or more; if we detect any potential problems, we’ll address them as needed.

During your appointment, feel free to ask any questions. Our team is more than happy to answer.

How to Prepare for Your Teeth Cleaning Appointment

A woman in a white tank top brushing her teeth in front of a mirror.

It helps to prepare ahead of time for your teeth cleaning appointment. Fortunately, this isn’t complicated; it’s as simple as making a few slight changes in the days leading up to your appointment.

To prepare for your appointment, try to:

  • Avoid staining foods or drinks on the day of your appointment. Coffee, tea, and other staining agents can make cleaning more challenging.
  • Brush and floss your teeth regularly before your appointment. This helps remove extra plaque and tartar buildup before your cleaning.
  • List any concerns or questions you may have for our team. This way, we can address them during your appointment and give you peace of mind.

Visit Shin Dentistry for Your Next Teeth Cleaning

At Shin Dentistry, our team is here to help keep your teeth healthy, clean, and strong. We value every patient and provide personalized care and support to support your oral and overall health. Schedule your next teeth cleaning with our team today to take your first step towards a healthier smile.

Written by Dr. Charles Shin

After graduating from the University of Western Ontario’s School of Dentistry in 1999, Dr. Charles Shin practiced in Burlington, Ontario before making the move to Stouffville in 2003 to open his own practice: Shin Dentistry.
Since then, Dr. Shin has never stopped his pursuit of learning, continuing his education at the Las Vegas Institute of Advanced Dental Studies while also staying current with the latest technology in dentistry.

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