Dental Cleaning

Prophylaxis

Health Teeth and Gums

Healthy Mouth

Prophylaxis refers to the cleaning of teeth as a preventative measure against periodontal (gum) disease and tooth decay. This treatment can include plaque detection, the removal of plaque and tartar in the supragingival (upper) and subgingival (lower) levels of the gum line, the application of caries-preventing agents, checking for signs of food impaction and the checking of restorations and prostheses.

In prophylaxis the procedures of dental scaling and dental polishing are used. Dental scaling refers to the removal of plaque and calculus from the surface of tooth within periodontal pockets or the surface coronal to the gingival margin. Dental polishing refers to the process getting a smooth and glossy surface finish on the teeth.

Periodontal Scaling and Root Planing

If your dentist determines that you have some bone loss or that the gums have receded from the teeth, the standard treatment is an intensive deep-cleaning, non-surgical method called scaling and root planing (SRP). Scaling scrapes the plaque and tartar from above and below the gumline. Root planing smoothes rough spots on the tooth root where germs collect and helps remove bacteria that can contribute to the disease. This smooth, clean surface helps allow the gums to reattach to the teeth.

Recession

Recession

Bone loss and recession

Bone loss and recession

Periodontal procedures such as SRP (Scaling and Root Planing) are done in the office. The time spent, the degree of discomfort, and healing times vary. All depend on the type and extent of the procedure and the person’s overall health. Local anesthesia to numb the treatment area usually is given before some treatments. If necessary, medication is given to help you relax.

After scaling and root planing procedures, you will require a periodontal maintenance every 3-4 months to maintain your condition.

Periodontal Maintenance

During visits with a hygienist for periodontal maintenance, scaling, root planing and polishing are performed. The hygienist will evaluate the success of at-home maintenance and make any necessary suggestions for improvement. Appointment intervals for periodontal maintenance are usually every three – four months. It is also vital to maintain oral health by having a dental checkup every six months to remove any existing decay, replace worn or loose fillings, and to replace extracted teeth with removable appliances, fixed bridgework or dental implants.

Things to keep in mind…

While plaque is the primary cause of periodontal disease, the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) says that other factors are thought to increase the risk, severity and speed of gum disease development. These can include:

  • Tobacco use — one of the most significant risk factors associated with the development of periodontitis. People who smoke are seven times more likely to get periodontitis than nonsmokers, and smoking can lower the chances of success of treatment.
  • Hormonal changes — may make gums more sensitive and make it easier for gingivitis to develop.
  • Stress — may make it difficult for the body’s immune system to fight off infection.
  • Medications — can affect oral health because they lessen the flow of saliva, which has a protective effect on teeth and gums.
  • Poor nutrition — may make it difficult for the immune system to fight off infection, especially if the diet is low in important nutrients. Additionally, the bacteria that cause periodontal disease thrive in acidic environments. Eating sugars and other foods that increase the acidity in the mouth increases bacterial counts.
  • Illnesses — may affect the condition of your gums. This includes diseases such as cancer or AIDS that interfere with the immune system, as well as diabetes and heart disease.
  • Clenching and grinding teeth — may put excess force on the supporting tissues of the teeth and could speed up the rate at which these tissues are destroyed.

For this information and more… visit www.colgateprofessional.com