In a survey in which people were asked to list their fears, visiting the dentist was outranked only by public speaking. Is such anxiety justified? In affluent countries, high-speed drills and topical and local anesthetics now enable dentists to perform most procedures with very little pain or discomfort to the patient. Being familiar with what is involved in each step of your treatment might allay some of your fears.
A visit to the dental office may involve a professional cleaning, or scaling, of your teeth, usually performed by a hygienist. During this process, calculus and plaque are removed from places inaccessible to the toothbrush and dental floss. Teeth are then polished to hinder the accumulation of plaque and remove stains that detract from your smile.