What is dental prophylaxis?
A preventative measure commonly known as dental prophylaxis or dental cleaning, which consists of the complete removal of plaque, calculus and stains from the teeth. This type of dental cleaning is recommended for persons who do not have any bone loss, periodontal disease, or infection around their teeth. During this procedure, you can also expect a thorough oral examination, necessary radiographs, a head and neck evaluation, an oral cancer screening, laser cavity detection, periodontal probing, intraoral images and a discussion of the most appropriate treatment to meet your oral health goals.
Removal of plaque, calculus and stains is accomplished by dental instruments that scrape away deposits from the teeth. An electric device, called an ultra-sonic scaler may also be used. This deposit removal is performed on tooth structures that have not been affected by bone loss; typically the crowns of the teeth.
Calculus is also known as tartar and is a hard, mineralized deposit, somewhat like cement that is formed from the plaque in the mouth and the minerals in a person’s saliva.
Plaque is a soft, sticky substance that forms on teeth, regardless of what types of foods are eaten, which is composed of bacteria and bacterial by-products.
Why oral hygiene and teeth cleaning are so important:
Adults over age 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases (periodontal disease) than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. The best way to prevent periodontal disease and cavities is 1) by good tooth brushing and flossing techniques, performed daily and 2) regular professional examinations and dental cleanings, which we provide for you and your entire family.
How often do I need to have my teeth cleaned?
The old system of everyone having their teeth cleaned only twice a year has fallen out of favor. In fact, many believe that the idea actually came from the recommendations of a 1940 toothpaste advertisement!
While some people may be able to maintain their dental health with semi-annual teeth cleanings, many patients find that their mouths and teeth stay in better shape when they have their teeth cleaned more frequently. It is best to have a dental cleaning schedule that is based on personal needs. This may be as often as four times a year.
Other important factors affecting the health of your teeth and gums are:
- Clenching and grinding teeth
- Poor Nutrition