June 22, 2020

Here’s What to Expect for Your Next Prophylaxis Dental Cleaning A.K.A. the Normal Dental Cleaning


We recently shared an overview of the different types of dental cleanings, one of which included a prophylaxis dental cleaning or what is more commonly known as a normal dental cleaning, especially among patients. This post will go into a bit more detail around what to expect during your next dental visit and prophylaxis dental cleaning. Believe us, it’s not nearly as complicated or as “scary” as the word prophylaxis may appear to be. 

What is a Prophylaxis Dental Cleaning? 

A normal dental cleaning should be part of your dental hygiene. The standard cadence for a prophylaxis dental cleaning – also referred to a prophy or normal dental cleaning (aka a dental checkup) – typically occurs every 6 months, but your dentist will help advise if more frequent cleanings may be recommended. While variations in a dental cleaning do exist, here’s what you could expect when you visit South Gables Dental. 

Common Prophylaxis Dental Cleaning Services

Dental X-Rays

You most likely will only receive dental x-rays every year or even couple of years, unless your dentist deems it is medically appropriate to have an increased frequency based on your dental history. This is a painless process where you most likely will remain in the exam chair while you are covered with a lead vest for protection. A dental hygienist will place small film cards in various spots around your mouth to capture pictures of your teeth and gums from different angles. 

Built-up Tartar and Plaque Removed

Next up, the hygienist will spend a majority of your normal dental cleaning using a metal scaler to remove build up of tartar and plaque that collect on your teeth. Even if you have the most diligent of dental hygiene routines, it’s normal for build-up to occur. Tartar and plaque will be removed from around your gum line and between your teeth. You should be able to rinse as needed throughout this process. Simply give a hand signal to your hygienist if you need a break or rinse— they are very good at translating.


Not only will the polish applied by the hygienist give your teeth an extra fresh feel, it helps remove any tartar that may have been left behind. The gritty texture helps scrub your teeth for that squeaky clean feel. 


This bi-annual flossing is certainly not a replacement for your own flossing routine, but having a professional flossing can help remove any plaque or polish leftover from your normal dental cleaning. Additionally, it will help the hygienist and dentist identify potential problem spots with your gums if they bleed. Bleeding gums can be a sign of periodontal disease. 

A Visit From the Dentist

After your full normal dental cleaning, the dentist will likely come by the room to examine your teeth and provide a time to share any concerns either you or the hygienist identifies. 

How Long Does a Dental Cleaning Take?

Many of our patients ask us, “How long does a dental cleaning take?” While there are numerous steps, the process should flow seamlessly and painlessly. You can expect to walk out of the office with fresh breath and a brighter smile in about 30-60 minutes. 

What are the Benefits of a Normal Dental Cleaning? 

The list of dental cleaning benefits can go on and on, but we don’t want to keep you from scheduling your next dental appointment. Here are four key benefits of a normal dental cleaning. 

  1. Plaque and tartar removal: As noted above, the dental hygienist will spend a fair amount of time chipping away at plaque and tartar build-up. Plaque can eventually turn into tartar (also known as calculus) and can only be removed during a normal dental cleaning. Plaque is essentially bacteria that covers your teeth (you won’t be able to see it) and every time you eat or drink something with sugar the plaque turns into acid that can eat away at your teeth’s protective enamel. It should go without saying that plaque and tartar are not your friends. 
  2. An even better smile. After a normal dental cleaning, you’ll leave with an even fresher smile and fresher bresh. The polishing process will help remove any leftover plaque and tartar and can help remove some staining that happens over the years. 
  3. Mitigating periodontal disease: Just as you go for annual physical exams, your teeth need to get the same attention (but even more frequently). Periodontal or gum disease can lead to tooth loss and believe it or not, your gums are connected to your heart health, too. You may not notice any issues at home, so that’s why a professional dental cleaning and exam are must-haves. 
  4. Ongoing Dental Hygiene: Having routine, scheduled dental cleanings are one facet of a strong dental hygiene routine. It enables your dentist to monitor your dental health from appointment to appointment and year to year and it could help catch a potential dental health concern before it becomes a bigger health issue. Dental hygiene is an on-going process‒one that your role as the patient is equally important as your dental check-ups are. As noted above, the health of your teeth can directly impact other vital organs like your heart. 

How do I Find the Top Dental Cleaning Near Me? 

Finding a dentist and hygienist you trust and have a good rapport with can make the idea of dental cleanings that much more palatable. Do your homework such as reading patient reviews, scheduling a new patient consultation and reading up on the dentist’s credentials. Using your local chamber of commerce can provide sound referrals as can other physicians in your healthcare network. Reading about the dentist ahead of your appointment can help put you at ease. Learn more about Dr. Lawrence Lesperance of South Gables Dental and get to know him a little more before your next dental cleaning.

Schedule a Dental Cleaning in Coral Gables, FL

Looking for the best prophylaxis dental cleaning service in Coral Gables? Dr. Lawrence Lesperance and his dental hygienists are here to help put you at ease whether you are a new dental patient or a returning one. Call us today at 305-665-1263 or click here to schedule your next normal dental cleaning! 

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