Hygiene/CleaningDental Hygiene/Cleanings

Our skilled, yet calming team will put you at ease right from your first appointment

Dental hygiene appointments—also called teeth cleaning appointments—help you achieve your healthiest teeth, mouth and gums! You’ll want to schedule these appointments at regular intervals, usually twice a year.

Gum Disease and Your Health
Your Child’s Hygiene Exam

Adults – what to expect at your cleaning appointment

Once you’re settled, Dr. Duffy or a dental assistant will ask about your medical history, examine your mouth and decide which digital x-rays you may need for an accurate, complete checkup.

Please let us know immediately if you:

  • Have pain in your mouth, jaw, temples or elsewhere
  • Have bleeding gums
  • Have sensitivity in any or all your teeth
  • Snore or grind your teeth or have been told that you do
  • Are experiencing nervousness or anxiety. We have a variety of ways we can help you feel more comfortable including very gentle care and sedation dentistry
  • Have other concerns about your health, or simply if you have noticed or been informed of any changes to your overall health since your last visit

We will address these first. Then, we make sure you are comfortable with your ability to eat and are happy with your smile.

Cleaning your teeth

  • We thoroughly clean your teeth to remove plaque (which can inflame your gums) especially in hard to reach places, as well as any tartar that has hardened onto the teeth and under the gums. Floss, protective fluoride and teeth sealants, as indicated, add the finishing touch
    Your hygienist will use specialized dental instruments when checking your gums for disease and any receding gum tissue
  • If you have gum disease and require deep and/or more frequent cleanings, we will work with you to develop a personalized plan
  • We will also perform an oral cancer screening by checking the sides and underside of your tongue, your entire mouth and back of the throat, as well as your jaw, jaw joint (TMJ), and neck for thyroid and lymph nodes

Once complete, Dr. Duffy will provide you with a summary of your oral health and discuss any next steps, answer your questions, schedule your next hygiene appointment and have you on your way.

Caring for your teeth at home

For optimal dental health, we encourage you to brush twice a day and floss once, as well as strive to maintain healthy diet and exercise habits. Our team is happy to work with you to identify other ways you can preserve your gums and smile, depending upon your unique dental and health needs.

Gum Disease

Are you at risk for gum disease?

You may be surprised that almost 43% of adults over age 30 in the United States are living with gum disease. Your risk for gum disease increases as you age. Also called periodontal disease, it is usually caused by bacterial growth in your mouth and is characterized by red, swollen, tender and/or bleeding gums. Sufferers may also experience bad breath or even loose teeth that are either moving or separating—and may even cause a shift in their bite.
If you’re experiencing symptoms such as these, we want to see you as soon as possible, rather than waiting for your next dental exam.

Ways to ward off gum disease:

  • Regular dental hygiene exams
  • Good home care including brushing, flossing and a healthy diet
  • Stop smoking or using other tobacco products
  • Review your medications with your dental and medical care providers to determine if they could be affecting your gum health

Gum disease and your overall health

Gum disease is itself a disease process which demands a constant response from the body and can lead to life-altering changes such as tooth looseness and loss. Unhealthy gums harbor infections and increase inflammation in your mouth, and sometimes throughout your body. Ongoing research suggests that there is a significant connection between the health of your gums and your overall health.

Gum disease can put you at higher risk and has been linked to serious conditions including: cardiovascular disease (includes heart attack and stroke), dementia, diabetes and chronic inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Having diabetes and/or being immuno-compromised can also keep gum disease from healing properly.


If you are newly pregnant, you are learning that your pregnancy affects your entire body! Good oral hygiene and health habits are especially important to maintain during pregnancy. While it is normal to have your gums bleed a little more than usual while pregnant, you will want to continue flossing and brushing. If it does not clear up within two weeks, or the frequency or severity increases, talk to your pregnancy care provider and schedule an appointment with Dr. Duffy. In general, most dental care is safe during all stages of your baby’s development, and we have a variety of ways to modify care appropriately so that everyone is safe and comfortable.

I can recommend Dr. Thomas Duffy without reservations. After another dentist ruined one of my teeth, I decided to see Dr. Duffy. I am so glad I did, and wish I had gone to him first. Dr. Duffy is an excellent dentist. He’s very skilled at working with his hands. He also has a very good demeanor and keeps his calm; he has a good sense of humor, and treats patients with respect and kindness. I recommend him without any reservations. Our family are all very pleased with the results.

a very satisfied patient