What is Prophylaxis?
Teeth cleaning in dental terms is a procedure known as prophylaxis. Teeth cleaning is important as it helps to keep diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis at bay. When bacteria in the mouth finds its way into the gum tissue, it can cause serious dental problems. The bacteria irritate the gums releasing chemicals that attack the bones and tissue. That's why bone loss and gum tissue damage is quite common with individuals suffering from gingivitis or periodontal disease. This is a problem that could affect all the teeth inside the mouth causing them to weaken and fall out eventually.
By going for regular dental visits, you can identify these dental issues early and take steps to save your teeth. These bacteria can gradually flow through your bloodstream, into the body and cause serious health issues. Therefore, dental procedures like prophylaxis are not just for aesthetics. It's done to protect the mouth from periodontal disease.
Other benefits of professional tooth cleanings
Having your teeth cleaned professionally on a regular basis has its benefits:
- Get rid of tartar and plaque: Plaque and tartar forms in the areas just below the gum line. If not removed, this can cause serious gum disease. Daily brushing and flossing may never get rid of all the bacteria and food particles that hide inside the mouth. Our dental specialists are properly trained to spot even the tiniest and most stubborn bits of bacteria and remove them before they cause any trouble.
- Fresh breath: Bad breath is a major sign of periodontal disease. This condition is also known as halitosis and occurs due to periodontal diseases, gum infection or decayed food parties beneath the gum line. Professional teeth cleaning involves getting rid of tartar and bacteria that causes the nasty smell to come out of your mouth. Once the cleaning is done, you'll have fresher breath and it will boost your self-confidence.
- Improve your appearance: A beautiful smile can boost your overall facial appearance and self-esteem. Research shows that an attractive smile can help individuals to have the self-confidence they need to improve their social life and achieve their goals. You may not be proud of stained teeth and this can prevent you from ever smiling. Teeth cleaning can give you pearly white teeth that you can't wait to show off.
- Detect health issues: When you visit the dental clinic for teeth cleaning, the dentist may detect health issues early and recommend treatment before it goes out of control. Diseases like diabetes, kidney cancer and oral cancer show at very early stages. Your dentist can detect these diseases by examining the mouth and throat areas. During the visit, you will also receive guidance on how to boost your dental hygiene and overall health.
The Prophylaxis Process
Cleaning: Plaque and tartar are removed above the gum line (a process known as supragingival cleaning) as well as in the gum pockets and underneath the gums (subgingival cleaning). This is done to eliminate the risk of bacteria in the mouth causing a lot of harm in the future.
Root planing: This involves smoothening of the roots of the teeth to ensure there are no areas where bacteria can linger and cause gum disease. Root planing is a critical part of the cleaning process because it's dangerous if hiding spots are not properly removed.
Medication: The dentist may apply an antimicrobial or antibiotic cream to the gums which helps to eliminate any bacteria that are still lurking in the gums. This also stimulates the rapid and healthy healing of your gums and makes the procedure more comfortable.
X-rays and other oral exams: Your dentist may request for an x-ray or another comprehensive oral exam if you're showing signs of gum disease or gum recession. This helps to reveal the size and scope of your bone and gum recession. The x-ray also gives a clear picture of which sections of your mouth need close monitoring for future infections.
At our dental clinic, we advise patients on having their teeth cleaned at least two times every year to prevent periodontitis and other dental issues. For those patients who have suffered or are at high risk of periodontitis, teeth cleaning must be done more frequently, typically 3 to 4 months. This can help prevent gum disease from progressing.
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