Every Stage of the Dental Cleaning Process Explained

Smile,,Mirror,And,Black,Woman,At,Dentist,On,Chair,InAt McDowell Dental & Aesthetics, we’re often asked what’s involved in a dental cleaning. A dental cleaning is a simple, painless process that helps keep gums and teeth healthy.

Some of our patients ask out of sheer curiosity, while some ask because they’re a little nervous. Don’t be worried. For those of you unsure of what happens when you visit a dentist, here is every step of a dental cleaning explained.

A Quick Mouth Inspection

Before Dr. McDowell starts a dental cleaning, she will perform a quick inspection or exam of your teeth. She’ll use a concave mirror to inspect the top and bottom halves of your teeth, making sure there’s no inflammation of your gums and that your teeth and gums are healthy. Part of your dental exam also includes an oral cancer screening, which is painless, simple, and just involves a visual inspection of your mouth and face.


Scaling involves using hand-held scalers — with the concave mirror as a guide — to knock plaque away from your teeth. Dr. McDowell and her assistant will repeat this process for all the teeth that have accumulated plaque. An ultrasonic vibrating scaler may be used to knock away thicker plaque and tartar.

During the scaling process, a small water jet is used to rinse off the tartar. During this time, you’ll hear a sucking sound, which is simply a small dental vacuum sucking up all the plaque that’s been removed from your teeth.


After the plaque is removed, Dr. McDowell will use an electric polishing tool with a soft head and some paste. The paste tastes like toothpaste and will feel like there are very fine pieces of sand in it. This is simply an abrasive that helps during the cleaning and polishing.

During this step, you’ll feel the electric polishing head rotating on your teeth. That rotation and the paste clean and polish your teeth, removing bacteria, any remaining plaque, and removing any stubborn tooth stains.

Applying Fluoride

After the cleaning and polishing, your teeth will get extra personal care with a thorough flossing and final rinse. Once this is finished, you’ll get a final fluoride treatment. This simply involves having a mouthpiece with special fluoride gel placed on your upper and lower teeth for a couple of minutes.

Book Your Next Dental Cleaning with McDowell Dental & Aesthetics Today

At McDowell Dental & Aesthetics, we’ll take you through each of these steps, answering all your questions and ensuring that your next dental cleaning is a pleasant experience.

If you need a dental cleaning or have questions, please contact us online or call our office in Rydal, PA, at 215-885-0555.

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Monday : 8am - 7pm
Tuesday: 7am - 4pm
Wednesday: 7am - 2pm
Thursday: 8am - 7pm
Friday: 8am - 2pm
Saturday & Sunday: Closed

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Yes! After our long tenured residence at the Tempenns building, McDowell Dental Group will be relocating. In addition to the move we are changing our name to McDowell Dental & Aesthetics. Don’t worry, even though there are a lot of changes happening we are still committed to providing our patients with the same valued care we always have. Lead by Dr. Ashley McDowell the office will bring additional focus to cosmetic dentistry and facial aesthetics along with all general dentistry services. Dr. Ashley has been working tirelessly over the past year to create a state of the art practice utilizing the best equipment and latest technologies. We are so excited for everyone to see and enjoy our new office.


Starting Monday, November 20th we will be seeing patients at:

1077 Rydal Road
Suite 300
Rydal, PA 19046


It is located just a short distance from our current office. The building has a spacious parking lot and an elevator for ease of travel. We look forward to seeing everyone at our new location!

McDowell Dental & Aesthetics Team