Teeth Cleaning and Exams

Dental Prophylaxis

Dentist inspecting patients mouthA dental prophylaxis is the technical term for a professional teeth cleaning performed by a dental hygienist. Dental prophylaxis is imperative for the prevention of periodontal disease

Benefits of a professional teeth cleaning:

  • Plaque and calculus removal. Tooth brushing removes soft plaque, but over time residual plaque hardens into a film of calculus (also referred to as tartar). Even with regular brushing and flossing, the removal of calculus requires professional instruments once it is present. Dental hygienists are trained to spot and remove potentially damaging buildup.
  • A healthier looking smile. Stained and yellowed teeth can dramatically decrease the esthetics of a smile. Routine cleanings help keep stain and yellow buildup to a minimum, resulting in a more attractive smile.
  • Fresher breath. Bad breath (or halitosis) can be a sign of periodontal disease. When teeth are not properly brushed and flossed, food particles can promote anaerobic bacterial growth under the gums and on the tongue. This is a major source of bad breath. In addition to brushing and flossing, scraping the tongue is an effective way to eliminate bad breath. Professional cleanings assist in the removal of this odor causing bacteria, noticeably improving halitosis and reducing gum inflammation and infection.
  • Oral Hygiene Instruction. We offer professional strength Fluoride Varnish that can be applied upon completion of your cleaning. This keeps enamel strong and more resistant to breaking down with decay. Your hygienist will discuss the best techniques and products for your mouth, and a customized recommendation can be given for daily maintenance.

How Important is Oral Hygiene?

Oral hygiene habits must be regular and thorough to prevent the accumulation of plaque and calculus on teeth. Gingivitis is a mild and reversible form of gum disease caused by bacteria buildup in the mouth. This is an inflammatory reaction that results in swollen and bleeding gums. If left untreated, gingivitis will progress to true periodontal disease, which can lead to tooth mobility and irreversible bone loss. The end result can be tooth loss when periodontal disease is neglected. When significant calculus is present, scaling and root planing is indicated instead of a routine prophylaxis. We recommend brushing teeth with a fluoridated toothpaste for two minutes twice a day, along with nightly flossing and the use of a mouth rinse.

Why Get a Dental Exam?

At a typical dental exam, our team will thoroughly clean your teeth, removing any surface stains, plaque, and calculus. We will check for any signs of decay or gum disease, and we will check your TMJ joint and screen for oral cancer. X-rays are required to thoroughly assess the oral cavity. Our offices uses digital radiography to minimize exposure to radiation. We will inform you of any findings and recommendations and together design a treatment plan to achieve your optimum health. We will review your regular oral habits and provide suggestions to maximize your oral health.  Frequent check ups are essential in order to detect problems early, making them more simple and less costly to fix.

How Often Should You Get a Dental Exam?

We generally recommend a professional dental cleaning every six months as a preventive measure. However, sometimes we recommend more frequent intervals (every 3-4 months) when managing patients with periodontal disease, high frequency of cavities, or a history of smoking. It should be noted that gum disease cannot be completely reversed, but dental prophylaxis is one of the tools Drs. Kalons, Glidewell and Grewal can use to effectively halt its progression.