Prophylaxis (dental cleaning)
A dental prophylaxis is a cleaning treatment that is done to thoroughly clean the teeth and gums. Prophylaxis is an important dental treatment for ceasing the progression of gingivitis and periodontal disease. Prophylaxis is a highly effective procedure that keeps the oral cavity in proper health and halts the progression of gum disease.
The benefits include:
- Plaque removal. Tartar (also referred to as calculus) and plaque buildup, both above and below the gum line, can result in serious periodontal problems. Even when you have a proper brushing and flossing routine, it can be impossible to remove all debris, bacteria and deposits from gum pockets. The experienced eye of a dentist or hygienist using specialized dental equipment is vital in catching potentially damaging buildup.
- A healthier looking smile. Stained or yellowed teeth can greatly decrease the aesthetics of a smile. Prophylaxis is an effective treatment in eliminating unsightly stains that are on the teeth.
- Fresher breath. Bad breath (or halitosis) is usually indicative of advancing periodontal disease. A combination of rotting food particles (possibly below the gum line) and potential gangrene stemming from gum infection, can develop into bad breath. The routine removal of plaque, calculus and bacteria at our facility can noticeably better halitosis and decrease the chance of infection.
Prophylaxis is performed at our office. We suggest that prophylaxis be performed once every six months as a precautionary measure, but should be completed every 3 or 4 months for those who suffer from periodontitis. It is important to note that gum disease cannot be completely reversed, but prophylaxis is one of the tools Dr. Helfner and Dr. Curro can use to effectively stop its progression.
Periodontal diseases are infections of the gums and progressively destroy the support of your natural teeth. There are various disease entities requiring multiple treatment approaches. Dental plaque is the primary cause of gum disease in genetically prone individuals. Brushing and flossing your teeth daily will prevent most periodontal conditions.
Why is oral hygiene so important?
If you are over the age of 35 you are more likely to lose teeth to gum diseases (periodontal disease) than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some point throughout the entirety of their lifetime. The most effective way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by brushing and flossing techniques that are performed daily.
Periodontal disease and tooth decay are caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film, which binds to your teeth along the gum line. Plaque is constantly forming on your teeth. By thoroughly brushing and flossing your teeth daily, you can remove these germs and help avoid any periodontal disease from occurring in the future.
A number of different factors can accelerate a periodontal disease. However, it is primarily caused by the bacteria found in dental plaque. Plaque is a sticky colorless film that constantly builds up on your teeth. If it is not carefully removed by daily brushing and flossing, plaque will begin to harden into a rough, porous substance. This substance is otherwise known as calculus (or tartar).
Other important factors affecting the health of your gums include:
- Clenching and grinding teeth
- Poor nutrition
Fluoride begins to work even before teeth break through the gums, creating a “systemic” benefit. Fluoride is absorbed through the gums from food and drinks. Once teeth have come above the gum surface, fluoride continues to strengthen enamel and prevent tooth decay.
How does fluoride get to my teeth?
The three simplest ways that you have access to fluoride are water, toothpaste and mouthwash. Most natural, drinking water (lakes, springs and rivers) already has fluoride in it. Toothpaste and mouthwash also typically have small amounts of fluoride in them. However, most brands make specific toothpastes and mouthwashes with higher amounts of fluoride.
What is a fluoride treatment? How does it work?
A fluoride treatment can be performed by your dentist. It can be applied to your teeth in the form of either a gel, foam or mouth rinse. This extra fluoride that you receive adheres to your teeth, giving them extra protection against tooth decay.