Oral Prophylaxis

A dental prophylaxis or otherwise known as oral prophylaxis is a scaling procedure performed to thoroughly clean the teeth. Oral prophylaxis is an important dental treatment for preventing the progression of gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis.

Need For Oral Prophylaxis

Oral prophylaxis is commonly known as scaling or cleaning of teeth to remove tartar or calculus from the teeth which causes further gum and periodontal problems. Few reasons to explain the need for oral prophylaxis are as follows

  • Tartar removal
  • Aesthetic Concern
  • Fresh breath
  • Identification of health problems

Tartar removal

Tartar or otherwise named as calculus and plaque both gets accumulated above and below the gum line, can cause serious gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis if left untreated. Even using the correct brushing and flossing techniques, it cannot be impossible to remove debris, bacteria and deposits from gum pockets. The experienced eye of a dentist using specialized dental equipment is needed in order to diagnose and treat such problems.

Aesthetic Concern

It’s hard to feel confident about a smile with yellowish stained teeth. Oral prophylaxis can free the teeth of unsightly stains and return the smile to its former glory.

Fresh breath

Gingivitis and periodontal disease is often signified by persistent bad breath or also known as halitosis. Bad breath is generally caused by a combination of accumulation of food particles below the gum line, possible gum infection, and periodontal problems. The removal of plaque and calculus can remove bacteria which noticeably improves breath and alleviates irritation.

Identification of health problems

Many health problems like oral cancers or other systemic diseases first present themselves to the dentist. Since prophylaxis involves a thorough examination of the entire oral cavity, the dentist is able to screen for oral cancer, evaluate the risk of periodontitis and often spot signs of medical problems like diabetes and kidney problems. Recommendations can also be provided for altering the home care regimen.

What does oral prophylaxis include?

Oral prophylaxis can either be performed in the course of a regular dental visit or, if necessary, under local anesthesia. The latter treatment involving local anesthesia is particularly common where severe periodontal disease is suspected or has been diagnosed by the dentist.

Oral prophylaxis is generally performed in several stages

  • Supragingival cleaning – The dentist will spot the area above the gum line with scaling tools to rid them of plaque and calculus which mainly consists of bacteria.

  • Sublingual cleaning – This is the most important step for patients with periodontal disease because the dentist is able to remove calculus from the gum pockets and beneath the gum line which will relieve the patient from gingival swelling, redness and even pain.

  • Root planning - This is the smoothing of the tooth root surfaces by the dentist to eliminate any remaining bacteria. These bacteria are dangerous for patients with periodontitis, so eliminating them is one of the top priorities of the dentist.

  • Medication - Following scaling and root planing, an antibiotic or antimicrobial cream is often placed in the gum pockets which is decided by the dentist depending on the case. These creams or gels promote fast and healthy healing of gingival the pockets and help ease discomfort.

  • Radiographic examination – Routine dental X-rays can be extremely revealing when it comes to periodontal disease. X-rays show the extent of bone and gum recession, and also aid the dentist in identifying areas which may need future attention and will be helpful in educating the patients.

When to undergo oral prophylaxis procedure?

It is mandatory for each and every individual to go for dental check-up every 6 months. It is helpful to analyze our oral health as well as it can also prevent our condition to further worsen. So, it better to undergo oral prophylaxis for every six months. Along with oral prophylaxis we can even know about other dental problems which we are having and get it treated as soon as possible.

Does oral prophylaxis damage enamel layer?

Most of the people have this misconception that frequent dental scaling can damage the enamel layer which will lead to dental sensitivity. But the fact behind it is, the instruments which are used for scaling doesn’t have cutting edges as airotors which are used in dental restoration treatments. These instruments have vibratory effect which will only remove calculus and plaque. They don’t affect the teeth layers causing sensitivity.

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