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Teeth Cleaning- Prophylaxis

In the past, the prevailing thought was that tooth loss was an inevitable part of aging. Now we know that teeth may last a lifetime with regular check-ups. Daily brushing and flossing keep dental plaque to a minimum but there are always places that we miss. Over time that dental plaque calcifies and becomes hard. The only way to remove calcified plaque (calculus) is with special dental instruments in the hands of a trained dental professional.

A dental prophylaxis is just a fancy way to say dental cleaning. The benefits of a dental prophylaxis include:

  • Plaque removal – Removing calcified and noncalcified plaque reduces inflammation of gums and supporting structures of the teeth. The cleaning catches all of the places the plaque is hiding from your toothbrush and floss. Plaque may be located above or below your gum line.
  • Brightens your smile – Plaque may cause the teeth to become discolored from the foods that you eat or they may just appear more yellow from the plaque itself. Removing the plaque will let people see your beautiful teeth.

Usually Dr. Frost recommends that patients have dental cleanings twice a year and have check-ups that accompany the cleanings. For those who suffer from periodontitis, the cleaning intervals may be anywhere from 3-6 months.

Teeth Cleaning – Deep Cleaning/ Periodontal Maintenance

In the past, the prevailing thought was that tooth loss was an inevitable part of aging. Now we know that teeth may last a lifetime with regular check-ups. Daily brushing and flossing keep dental plaque to a minimum but there are always places that we miss. Over time that dental plaque calcifies and becomes hard. The only way to remove calcified plaque (calculus) is with special dental instruments in the hands of a trained dental professional.

A deep cleaning is prescribed when signs of periodontitis are present in your mouth and/or on the x-rays. Deep cleanings of your whole mouth are usually performed in two appointments with one-half of your mouth being cleaned per appointment. This allows you to chew and still use one side of your mouth while your gums heal on the other side. You will likely need to be numbed because the calculus forms under the gums and it may be uncomfortable to remove the buildup.

Teeth Cleaning

The presence of build-up makes it so your gums are inflamed and can’t heal. Let’s compare removing the plaque from your teeth to removing a splinter out of your hand. The area on your hand that has the splinter is red and sore and once the splinter is removed, there may still be temporary tenderness. However, your body will heal and the tenderness will subside. This concept may be applied to your gums and teeth; they may by tender or sensitive after a deep cleaning but your body will be able to recover from the chronic infection that was plaguing it. Patients with severe periodontitis will often notice their overall health improve after a cleaning.

Periodontal maintenance refers to the cleanings that follow a deep cleaning. Usually the periodontal maintenance appointments don’t require numbing and are used to evaluate the healing of your gums. Right after a deep cleaning, Dr. Frost will recommend that you come back for periodontal maintenance appointments every 3-4 months. Over time and with proper brushing and flossing on your part, our goal is to see you for your periodontal maintenance appointments every 6 months like a prophylaxis, or a normal cleaning. There is hope!

If you would like to schedule an appointment, contact Sonoran Frost Dentistry by calling (520) 886-8428 or Schedule An Appointment Online.