The Dental Cleaning Process

Dental Exam

Before your dental cleaning begins, a dental hygienist or dentist will perform a dental exam to check for any signs of problems such as cavities or gum disease. These exams are essential for determining the condition of your oral health, and if you’ll need any additional treatments. They're relatively quick and shouldn't cause any pain.
At least once a year, our dental team will also take digital X-rays to detect problems we can’t see with the naked eye.

Plaque and Tartar Removal

Using specialized dental tools, such as a dental scaler, our dental team will perform plaque and tartar removal. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth and can lead to cavities and gum disease. Tartar is a hard mineral deposit that forms when plaque isn’t removed and can only be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist. You may feel some sensitivity during this process, but it shouldn’t be painful.

Teeth Cleaning and Polishing

Once the plaque and tartar have been removed, our dentist will clean and polish your teeth using a special toothpaste and brush. This process removes surface stains and leaves your teeth feeling smooth, shiny, and clean.


Our dental hygienists will then floss between the teeth to remove any remaining plaque or food particles. Flossing is essential during dental cleanings because it can reach areas between teeth that are difficult to clean with a toothbrush.

Fluoride Treatment

Depending on your oral health, Dr. Thomas may recommend a fluoride treatment to help protect your teeth from decay. Fluoride is a mineral that can help remineralize teeth and make them more decay-resistant. The fluoride treatment may be applied as a gel, foam, or varnish that is brushed onto the teeth and left to sit for a few minutes before being rinsed off.

Post-Dental Cleaning Care

After a dental cleaning, you may feel a bit of sensitivity, especially if it is a deep cleaning. We recommend doing the following after your appointment:

Regular brushing and flossing should be continued

It's recommended to avoid foods or beverages that are extremely hot, cold, sweet, or acidic if there's sensitivity

Rinse with a saltwater solution or anti-sensitivity mouthwash to alleviate discomfort

Schedule regular dental check-ups and cleanings as advised by our dentist, typically every 6 months

Frequently Asked Questions

Experience a Comfortable Visit With Our Billings, MT Dentist

Dental cleaning appointments are crucial to help maintain good oral hygiene and prevent dental problems. To get started with Dr. Thomas, contact our dental office today by calling (406) 298-4485. We’re happily accepting new patients at Thomas Smile Designs.