Teeth cleaning is also known as prophylaxis. It involves the removal of plaque and tartar from the teeth and below the gums. Plaque is a soft, sticky substance that causes cavities and gum disease. Tartar, on the other hand, is a calcified form of plaque that is difficult to remove. A dental hygienist may use a hand tool or an ultrasonic instrument to scale the teeth and remove tartar.
What Is Prophylaxis?
Prophylaxis treatment is a teeth cleaning procedure that is typically performed by a dental hygienist or dentist. Prophylaxis removes plaque and tartar from hard and soft oral tissues, leaving your gums healthier and helping to prevent tooth decay. Patients who are at a high risk of developing gum disease may be prescribed prophylaxis treatment every three to four months.
During this procedure, the hygienist will first examine your teeth and gums for signs of disease or decay. Then, we will use an ultrasonic scaler and special hand tools to remove plaque and tartar buildup from all tooth surfaces. After your teeth have been scaled and polished with a soft brush, they will be flossed to remove any remaining debris. Lastly, the saliva will be neutralized with an antibacterial agent to kill any remaining bacteria in the oral cavity.
Candidacy for Teeth Cleaning
Everyone over the age of two should see a dentist twice a year for a checkup and cleaning. These regular appointments are important because they allow the dentist to monitor your oral health and address any problems in their early, more treatable stages.
For people who are at a higher risk for gum diseases, such as those with diabetes or heart disease, the dentist may recommend more frequent visits. Our dentist may also recommend additional treatments outside of normal prophylaxis, such as root planing and periodontal maintenance therapy.
What Are the Benefits of Prophylaxis?
When you come to your appointment for teeth cleaning, you can expect the hygienist to clean your teeth from front to back. They may use an ultrasonic tool to clear out gunk and buildup from the surface of your teeth, too. That’s an important step because it helps prevent cavities and keeps your mouth healthy.
The dental hygienist will also floss between each tooth using special tools designed to clean between the tight crevices. Not only does prophylaxis make your teeth look whiter and more appealing, but it significantly enhances oral health by removing most of the harmful bacteria from the mouth.
For more information, contact our Alexandria dental office at (703) 823-2848 or 5130 Duke St, Suite 8, Alexandria, VA 22304, or our Manassas dental office at (703) 479-7654 or 8608 Centreville Rd, Manassas, VA 20110.