What Is a Prophylaxis (Prophy) Teeth Cleaning?
Prophylaxis is the formal name for a professional dental teeth cleaning. When visiting the dental hygienist for your checkup, a prophylaxis is done to remove the plaque from your teeth. The dental hygienist will polish off any loose plaque from your teeth to prevent deposits or tartar from forming. Gingivitis and more serious gum disease may develop if you avoid having this done at least every six months.
Why Should You Get a Prophy Teeth Cleaning?
If you do not remove plaque by means of a prophy teeth cleaning, deposits left will greatly contribute to gingivitis and more serious gum disease.
Most plaque and deposits are removed from your teeth when properly brushing and flossing. Although, not all plaque and deposits are removed. It is up to your dental hygienist to remove the plaque and tartar you missed to maintain good oral health and hygiene. A dental prophy teeth cleaning is recommended twice a year. It’s part of your routine checkup to prevent cavities, gum disease, and possible tooth loss.
What to Expect During Your Prophy Teeth Cleaning
Your check-up and prophy appointment is simple but very important. During your check-up appointment, the dental hygienist will take X-rays of your teeth to look for any tooth decay. Then the dentist will review them and will let you know if he finds any tooth decay. Additionally, the dentist will do a thorough oral exam of your mouth, gums and tissues. He will screen your mouth oral cancer and other diseases like HIV, diabetes and bulimia. Once your X-rays and examination are complete, the dental hygienist will use an ultrasonic scaler to remove any remaining deposits on your teeth. After your teeth have been cleaned your hygienist will polish your teeth. This helps to remove any teeth stains and brighten your smile.
Very Important Reasons Not to Avoid Prophy Teeth Cleanings
A prophy teeth cleaning helps you maintain healthy teeth and gums and to check for early sings of gums disease. Patients who avoid their prophy teeth cleanings often wind up with tarter that forms under the gum line. Once this happens, the tarter is difficult to remove with normal brushing and flossing. Remaining tarter deposits under the gum line carry bacteria. This bacteria can irritate your gum tissue, make your gums bleed, and cause bad breath.
There is proven evidence that lingering bacteria in the mouth and gums can enter the blood stream and travel throughout the body. Learn more about the health risks from bacteria in the mouth here at WebMd. This affects the heart and contributes to strokes. Patients with existing heart conditions or disease are sometimes required to take antibiotics an hour prior to their prophy teeth cleanings. Always consult your physician prior to a prophy cleaning if you have one of these conditions.
If prophy cleanings are not provided on a regular basis, gum disease is imminent. If you develop gum disease, you may require more aggressive cleanings. This will cost you more money and may jeopardize your health. Patients who develop gum disease should receive a prophy teeth cleaning every three to four months. This is to prevent deep pockets from forming around the teeth and gums. The deep pockets around the teeth and gums is where bacteria builds up. If this bacteria is left untreated, it could lead to bone loss and tooth loss later on.
When Should Your Child Begin Seeing a Dentist?
At the age of one, children should visit the dentist. At Paradise Ridge Dentistry, we call this the “happy visit.” This is to help your child familiarize and feel comfortable with the dentist and hygienist later on. As soon as your children’s teeth begin to erupt, they should begin visiting the dentist for prophy teeth cleanings.
Children are especially vulnerable to decay and require special attention to their teeth as they grow. Your child should visit the hygienist twice a year for a dental exam, X-rays, prophy cleaning, and have fluoride treatment. This will help prevent tooth decay.
Dental Insurance and Dental Payment Plans
Most dental insurances allow two prophy dental cleanings per year and most will pay 100% of the cost. Check your dental insurance plan to see what percentage your plan pays for “preventive” services. If you do not have insurance, you will find the “out of pocket” expense for a prophy to be reasonable and affordable. At Paradise Ridge Dentistry, we offer reasonable payment plans that offer discounts for prophy teeth cleanings and other services too. Click here to learn more.
Dental prophy teeth cleanings are one of the best investments you can make for you and your family.
Give us a call at 602-867-8488 to schedule your prophy cleaning today.