Markham Dental Smiles
4630 Hwy 7 #2 Unionville ON L3R 1M5 (905) 477-6453

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Exciting news – We're happily accepting new patients!

Unionville, ON
(905) 477-6453

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How Long Does Dental Cleaning Take?

Dental cleaning is an essential part of your oral health routine. During a cleaning, your hygienist removes plaque and tartar from your teeth and gums, helping prevent dental problems like gum disease and tooth decay. Still, not knowing how much time to set aside in your busy schedule can be stressful.

An average dental cleaning takes less than 1 hour, but it depends on the condition of your teeth, oral health, and the type of cleaning you need. This is time well spent! Afterward, you can enjoy the feeling of clean teeth and knowing you’re doing your part in supporting oral health.

What Is a Teeth Cleaning?

Who doesn’t love that squeaky-clean feeling after brushing your teeth? But no matter how much we scrub, we can’t clean our teeth as effectively as our hygienist can.

A teeth cleaning involves removing plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth. Even if you brush and floss regularly, plaque can still accumulate in hard-to-reach areas of your mouth. Plaque is like a sticky film that forms on your teeth when bacteria and food particles come together. If left untreated, it can harden into tartar. 

Plaque and tartar buildup can lead to gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss over time, which is why experts recommend having your teeth cleaned by a dental professional every 6 months.

What About Dental Exams?

Many places combine exams and cleanings into one appointment. Your hygienist will inspect your teeth and collaborate with your dentist on any trouble spots. Together, your dental team will look for signs of oral health problems, including:

  • Cavities
  • Tooth chips, breaks, or wear
  • Changes in tooth position
  • Oral cancer
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) function
  • Physical signs of sleep apnea

Why Are Teeth Cleanings Important?

Regular teeth cleanings help prevent cavities and gum disease caused by bacterial buildup in your mouth. Regular teeth cleaning can also help detect and treat potential dental problems before they become more serious and costly to fix.

Cleanings go beyond your mouth! Teeth cleanings help improve oral health, but a healthy mouth can mean a healthy body. Studies have shown a link between gum disease and health conditions like heart disease and diabetes.

What Happens During a Teeth Cleaning?

Visiting your dentist is like giving your teeth a little health boost with a spa day! What your appointment looks like depends on your oral health needs.

Your dentist might start with X-rays if needed. X-rays provide a glimpse into potential issues as your hygienist preps for the cleaning. After reviewing your medical history, they’ll use a scaler to remove tartar and plaque buildup. Once most of the tartar is cleaned, they’ll work on more detailed work along the gumline and between the teeth.

Afterward, your hygienist may use a rotating toothbrush with gritty toothpaste to polish your teeth and help them sparkle before a professional flossing.

Despite the scrubbing and brushing, cleaning appointments shouldn’t be painful, but if you do feel pain, don’t hesitate to let your hygienist and dentist know.

The last step is typically a fluoride treatment. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay, and it’s often applied after teeth cleaning to fortify your teeth’s defenses against decay. You should avoid eating or drinking anything for 30 minutes after a fluoride treatment to help it stay on your teeth and do what it needs to do.

Unless we find anything that requires additional attention, that’s it! Your teeth should now be fresh, clean, and ready to shine—all for 30–60 minutes of your day.

What Can Affect the Length of a Dental Cleaning?

Everyone’s teeth are unique, so not all dental cleanings look the same. The average appointment is around an hour, but some factors can affect this.

Your Oral Health

The state of your oral health can contribute to the duration of your cleaning session. If you have poor oral health, your dentist may need to spend more time during your cleaning to address any potential issues. For example, your dentist may need more time with you if you have bleeding gums or cavities.

Your Cleaning Schedule

How often you go for dental cleaning will also affect the duration of your appointment. If you have been going for regular cleaning appointments every 6 months, your cleaning session may take less time. However, if it’s been a long time since you’ve had a cleaning, your session may take longer, especially if there’s a lot of buildup on your teeth.

The Type of Cleaning You Need

There are different types of cleanings your dentist may recommend. These include prophylaxis, scaling and root planing, and periodontal maintenance. 

Prophylaxis is a standard cleaning aimed at removing plaque and tartar from your teeth to prevent issues.

Scaling and root planing, on the other hand, is a deep cleaning to remove tartar from below the gum line that’s recommended for patients with advanced gum disease. 

Periodontal maintenance is recommended for patients who have completed scaling and root planing and require regular cleaning to address periodontal disease.

Skill & Experience of Your Dental Team

The skill and experience of your dentist and dental hygienist also contribute to the duration of a cleaning appointment. Finding a dental team with more experience can efficiently clean your teeth and identify issues quickly.

A man in an dentist's office shaking hands with his dentist

Make the Time to Smile

Teeth cleaning is crucial to maintaining good oral health and helping prevent cavities, gum disease, and other health problems. And by keeping regular appointments, you can help reduce the time you need in the dental chair.

Invest some time in your teeth! Schedule your next teeth cleaning with Markham Dental Smiles.

Visit Our Location

We would love to meet you at our Unionville office. We’re located on Highway 7, right next to the Shopper’s Drug Mart.


Markham Dental Smiles
4630 Hwy 7 #2
Unionville, ON, L3R 1M5

Contact Number

Phone: (905) 477-6453
Email: [email protected]


Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 10:00AM - 7:00PM
Wednesday: 10:00AM - 7:00PM
Thursday: 10:00AM - 2:30PM
Friday: 10:00AM - 6:00PM
Saturday: 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Sunday: Closed