The value and benefits of Professional Teeth Cleaning
Prophylaxis may look like a mouthful. Derived from the Greek word prophylaktikós (“to keep guard”), “prophy” simply refers to those steps that are taken to prevent disease. In dentistry, prophy refers to professional teeth cleaning. The American Dental Association generally recommends that healthy patients professionally clean their teeth once every six months. Our dentists at Signature Smiles Dental in Riverside, California, Drs Geomel Brian Bebing and Harun Ayouby, may recommend more frequent visits for those patients with risk factors for tooth decay, gum disease, and other conditions such as oral cancer.
Generally, though, regular teeth cleaning presents a cornerstone of excellent oral health, attractive smiles, and overall wellbeing. Our skilled dental hygienists gently and thoroughly remove bacteria and hardened plaque (tartar) from the teeth. Once sticky bacterial plaque hardens, it cannot be removed with a standard toothbrush.
Additionally, Drs Bebing or Ayouby will examine the teeth, gums, and other oral tissues. Considerable knowledge, as well as sophisticated diagnostics, proactively detect underlying conditions. Early-stage gum disease and tooth decay are often “silent” or asymptomatic. If symptoms such as bleeding are present, they are often subtle and easy to ignore. So, problems can lurk undetected for some time. The earlier we can identify those problems, the faster we can effectively resolve enamel erosion, periodontal inflammation and oral infections, and cancerous lesions. Early treatment is tissue-preserving, well-tolerated, cost-effective, and fast.
What to expect during your visit
X-rays (radiographs) are images of your teeth, gums, and other tissues. They help us identify “hidden” areas of decay and other problems that cannot be detected with the naked eye alone. Our dentists also discuss patient health changes since the last appointment. We track changes such as new medical conditions or medications and supplements, as they can affect the state of your oral health.
During your cleaning, hygienists use special instruments; for instance, a dental probe measures the depth of the spaces between the teeth and gums. These periodontal “pockets” expand as gum disease progresses. So, these measurements present an accurate way to detect the presence of disease and the extent or “stage” of the condition. That way, we can recommend treatments that quickly and effectively treat the disease.
Other professional tools are used to remove bacteria, plaque, and surface stains from the teeth and gum line. During cleaning, they will illustrate and discuss ways for you to more efficiently and thoroughly clean the teeth and gums and the tongue, palate, and other areas that tend to harbor bacteria. Oral products are recommended, as needed; for example, interdental brushes and floss threaders are ideal for cleaning underneath hard-to-reach spaces (such as bridges). The last step in the process is often our patients’ favorite: the polishing! They love how minty-fresh and clean their teeth feel after a good trophy.
If it’s been a while since your last visit and you are due for a cleaning, do not delay contacting us today to schedule your appointment. Call Signature Smiles Dental at (951) 777-2805. Do not “sit” on the professional care that is necessary for healthy, brilliant smiles and fresh breath!