Two tips for people who are about to have their first dental cleaning

If as a result of financial problems, your dental phobia, or other issues, you have made it to adulthood without ever having had a scale-and-polish, and you are now planning to book your first dental cleaning, you might find this advice quite enlightening.

Schedule it for a couple of days or more before any dates, business dinners or other important meetings.

You should find out if your dentist can fit you in for a dental cleaning a couple of days (or more) before any business dinners, dates or other important upcoming meetings you have planned. The reason for this is as follows: because the dentist will have to remove several years' worth of tartar from your teeth, both your gum line and your teeth may feel quite sensitive for a while after this process. Additionally, your gums may look very red and might even bleed a tiny bit. This is completely normal and is simply a short-lived side-effect of the rigorous scraping that a dentist has to do in order to fully clean a set of tartar-riddled teeth.

However, you are likely to feel more aware of these side-effects if you experience them whilst, for example, you're on a date with a new partner and are in close proximity to them (in this instance, realising that your gums are bleeding slightly could be embarrassing) or at a business dinner (as you might have to be very fussy about what you order, to avoid eating something that might irritate your slightly-sore gums). By scheduling your dental cleaning for several days before any social events like this, you can ensure that there is enough time between this dental process and the event for your gums and teeth to return to normal.

Ask the dentist which parts of your teeth had the most tartar build-up.

When your dentist finishes the dental cleaning process and you have rinsed out your mouth, you should ask them where in your mouth they noticed the largest build-up of tartar. Asking them this question and (if necessary) getting them to show you, in the mirror, the precise teeth which were particularly well-coated in tartar, will help you in your efforts to take better care of your teeth from now on, as you will know which areas require extra attention when you're flossing and brushing.

This should help to make your future dental cleaning appointments shorter and should result in less irritation in the days after these appointments (as your dentist won't have to work quite so hard to get your teeth completely clean). It should also reduce the chance of all of the complex dental problems that can be induced by tartar developing in these areas.