How Long Does a Teeth Cleaning Take? Estimated Time For Dental Cleanings

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Do you have a scheduled dental cleaning and do not know what to expect?

Learn everything you need to know about dental cleanings in this article. Discover how long a dental cleaning takes (30 minutes to an hour), why it could take longer, and how it can help you fulfill ideal oral health.

Factors Affecting the Duration of Teeth Cleaning

The Initial Assessment

The first step in any cleaning is the initial teeth and gums examination. It takes, on average, about 5 minutes, and it is usually in the hands of a dental hygienist, who will also later perform the dental cleaning.

During this process, the professional clinician will write down and identify all possible issues with your gums, teeth, tongue, lips, and every other area.

Additionally, your dentist will analyze and diagnose your oral conditions, such as gum disease, tooth decay, and dental plaque and tartar presence.

As a result, your dental team will create an organized and customized cleaning procedure plan according to your needs.

The Presence of Tartar and Plaque

The amount of dental plaque and tartar in your teeth will impact how long your dental cleaning takes.

Some patients only have a superficial plaque that requires standard polishing and flossing. However, others have plenty of tartar that might need a deeper and more structured cleaning.

Although patients with only plaque will have a quick treatment, cases with tartar take longer. In these situations, tartar builds up over your teeth’ crowns and, sometimes, under your gum line.

Plaque Tartar

This procedure can take up to 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how much tartar there is and how deep it is under your gum line.

Also, remember that tartar and plaque formation depend directly on your oral hygiene and how often you receive a dental cleaning and brush and floss your teeth.

The more you wait, the more build-up. If you require deep teeth cleaning, it will take about one hour to clean 1/4th of your mouth, depending on the amount of plaque and tartar buildup. Most likely the deep cleaning will be split over two sessions. 

Additional Procedures

Sometimes, you might require specific procedures, such as fluoride treatment or X-rays. These will extend your overall appointment time by about 5 to 10 minutes.

However, they are usually indispensable and quick procedures with essential information and advantages to your oral health.

Understanding the Teeth Cleaning Process

Preparing for the Cleaning

Before starting the procedure, your hygienist will give you instructions to communicate while preparing you for the cleaning.

Occasionally, depending on where the tartar is, you might require a local painless anesthesia block. Depending on the severity and the amount of tartar, this stage can take around 10 minutes.

The Cleaning Procedure

The time during your procedure will depend on what steps you require. Usually, there are three steps for a dental cleaning: scaling, polishing, and flossing. Yet, they can vary in order, depending on the professional.

Dental scaling involves an ultrasound machine that uses vibrations to remove the tartar. It is the longest step and usually takes around 15 to 20 minutes. However, it can take longer if you have plenty of tartar in many areas.

Polishing and flossing

Polishing and flossing are the most straightforward part of the treatment, and some patients might require these steps only. It can take about 10 minutes overall and does not involve ultrasound equipment.

However, keep in mind that these time marks are average time frames. They can vary considerably from one individual to another.

Post-cleaning Care and Recommendations

After your cleaning procedure, follow your dentist or hygienist’s recommendations to prevent oral health issues.

If you receive a fluoride treatment, do not eat or drink anything for an hour. Also, avoid dairy for the first 24 hours. Additionally, avoid staining foods and drinks such as coffee, wine, and soda immediately after the treatment to prevent tooth stains

Reasons for a Cleaning and Benefits

Dental cleanings are essential for your oral health. Not only do they provide an opportunity for a complete examination, but they keep tartar build-up at bay.

Nevertheless, you must maintain an excellent oral hygiene routine by flossing and brushing your teeth every day. As a result, you can prevent plaque and tartar formation, tooth decay, and gum disease simultaneously.

Frequency of Teeth Cleanings

Depending on your dentist’s assessment, you will need two or more appointments in one year to keep your mouth healthy.

If you have gingivitis or another periodontal disease, you might require sooner check-up appointments to prevent other issues.

Also, your age, pregnancy, puberty, and some diseases are other factors that will make you need less time between your dental visits.


Finally, remember that you are directly responsible for your oral health.

Thus, keeping healthy practices will avoid plaque and tartar and, therefore, most common oral conditions.

Using your dental floss and brushing daily with fluoride paste will help you reduce the risk of multiple diseases.

Lastly, follow your dentist and dental team’s recommendations, going to your dental appointments and following their instructions.

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