I just had my teeth cleaned at a dentist's office for the first time in about 7 years. Holy SHIT, do they feel clean. I can feel every single tooth in all its own slippery-smooth glory.
I have pretty good oral hygiene, so even after all this time, my teeth and gums are healthy with no cavities. The hygienist was mildly impressed. Even so, I had significant scaling that needed some serious action to clear off. They use an ultrasonic scaler these days to remove most of the plaque. It doesn't hurt, but it can be a little uncomfortable when they jam it under your gums.
Dentists' offices have changed greatly since I last visited one. This one in particular is really high-tech. Apart from all the LCD TVs in every procedural room (to amuse the patients before and even during the procedures) and the GameCube in the waiting room (alas, just for the wee tykes; the game was Winnie the Pooh), there were computers everywhere, all linked via network. Any X-rays taken were stored digitally and easily accessed by any staff member or even emailed to specialists in other offices. Specialized software keeps track of every tooth, and can add notations to the teeth and automatically enhance the X-rays. Any observations were also recorded electronically. All this went into the file they kept with a picture of you and you dental insurance information.
And speaking of that, I heartily recommend that, when you get dental insurance with your job, you use it as much as possible. Before, I never had dental insurance, so I never went to the dentist. My teeth are much healthier now.