‘Prophylaxis’ originates from Greek and Latin, meaning ‘act of guarding’. Dental prophylaxis is a dental care to prevent gum disease and other complications. It involves an examination of your oral health and procedures done for teeth cleaning. This could range from using ultrasonic-powered scalers to picks to remove tartar and plaque build-up from the surfaces of teeth and from between and under the gums.
During your oral examination, your doctor might come across issues like tooth decay, cavities, etc., and suggest further treatments such as root canals. Your doctor might also call for other procedures for further examination, like x-rays if they come across any concerns like tooth decay.
This blog post will tell you everything you need to know before setting up your dental prophylaxis appointment.
What Should You Expect At Your Dental Prophylaxis Appointment?
A dental prophylaxis appointment consists of various cleaning and examination procedures.
Below are some of the procedures you might undergo during your visit:
- Scaling or roots planing
- Fluoride treatments or sealants
- X-rays to check for cavities and other problems
- Periodontal probing
- Evaluate conditions of restorative work like fillings, crowns, etc.
- Screening for tooth decays and other diseases
- Oral care recommendations
Benefits of Dental Prophylaxis
- Prevent Tooth Decay
The plaque build-up that is mainly targeted during a dental cleaning can also become the leading cause of tooth decay. Plaque is an acidic substance that eats away at the enamel of your teeth. The more plaque build-up, the greater the risk of cavities.
- Prevent Gum Diseases
Periodontitis, also known generally as gum disease, is a severe gum infection that can lead to tooth loss or other serious health complications. It damages the soft tissue and, if left untreated, can destroy the bone that supports your tooth, eventually leading to tooth decay and tooth loss.
Gum disease is caused by bacteria that have been allowed to accumulate on your teeth and gums. It is common but fairly treatable, even preventable, with the proper care. Avoiding the build-up of plaque and tartar will keep that bacteria from making a home in your mouth.
- Lower Risks of Oral Diseases
Like any other body part, keeping your gums and teeth clean and healthy can help lower your risk for countless diseases. Good oral hygiene and regular dental cleaning can go a long way in keeping severe complications at bay. There have been many studies that have drawn a relationship between oral health and the development of systemic diseases, which can develop from bacteria accumulation in your mouth.
- Early Detection of Other Diseases
Your oral health speaks a lot about your overall health. Your dentist could be one of the first healthcare providers to notice signs and symptoms of many diseases during a routine check-up and oral examination. The American Dental Association says that regular visits are crucial because some health conditions have symptoms that can appear in your mouth.
Common conditions like diabetes can cause dry mouth and bleeding gums, symptoms which your dentist could bring attention to. Mouth cancers have oral symptoms like lumps and growths, which can be easily caught during a routine examination. Other serious conditions like AIDS can also show symptoms in your mouth, like mouth sores.
- Prevent Early Tooth Loss
If plaque isn’t removed from teeth when it’s soft, it hardens to form tartar (or calculus). It is a hard, calcified deposit that coats your teeth. A whopping 68% of adults have tartar buildup on their teeth. This plaque can lead to tooth decay and tooth loss. If tartar reaches below the gum line, it can lead to gingivitis and periodontitis. And if this tartar buildup is severe, your dentist may suggest a tooth extraction or your tooth may even fall out.
A dental cleaning removes this buildup and cleans all the deposits on your teeth.
- Prevent Bad Breath
Plaque buildup is one of the biggest causes of bad breath as it harbors smelly bacteria.
Dental prophylaxis focuses on the pockets between your teeth and gums, where it is easiest for plaque to build up. So a deep, thorough clean can help combat bad breath by targeting that stubborn plaque you can’t usually reach with your toothbrush.
- Remove Stains
Stained teeth might not be the most serious concern health-wise, but stained and yellow teeth can dramatically affect your confidence in your smile if left unaddressed. A dental prophylaxis is very effective in getting rid of these otherwise unsightly stains caused by smoking, drinking coffee, tea, and other foods we consume regularly.
- Avoid Serious Procedures Like Root Canal
Procedures like root canals help repair and save severely damaged and infected teeth instead of removing them. But, it is an easily avoidable procedure.
Dental prophylaxis helps you get rid of bacteria and hidden debris from food from areas where your toothbrush and floss can’t reach efficiently. Keeping up with regular appointments reduces your chances of root canals and other serious procedures down the line.
How Often Should You Get It Done?
You can sometimes feel plaque buildup when you run your tongue over your teeth. The surface of your teeth may feel a bit rough. Mostly, you can remove plaque by brushing your teeth thoroughly and regularly, and cleaning well between your teeth, too. But if plaque isn’t removed properly, it can turn into tartar, which requires cleaning procedures done by a dental professional.
If you practice excellent oral hygiene, you might need it only once or twice a year. However, if you have signs of gum disease, you might need to schedule dental prophylaxis about every four months. This is necessary to avoid progression into severe gum diseases and other issues like tooth decay and loss.
Prevention is care. Brushing, flossing, and regular visits to your dentist can prevent almost every possible oral health concern. If you’re looking for a reliable and experienced dentist in Roswell, GA, or neighboring areas such as Alpharetta, Dunwoody, Marietta, Milton, Sandy Springs, or Woodstock, consider TruCare Dentistry. To know more about our services, visit our website or call (678) 321-7575 to book an appointment today.