Oral prophylaxis is another name for the deep cleaning that is done by your dental hygienist. This includes removing plaque buildup, tartar, and stains from your tooth structure and gumline. This is a preventative service. By removing the plaque, the dental hygienist removes the habitat for bacteria, which can cause cavities, tooth decay, gum disease, and gingivitis.
When should you have prophylaxis?
Frequent prophylaxis keeps your mouth healthy, especially if you have difficulty keeping your teeth clean. A dental hygienist will:
Remove tartar and plaque, which allow environments for bacteria to thrive.
Polish your teeth, which allows you to leave with a healthy smile.
Examine your oral cavity, which may give you advanced notice of conditions such as diabetes and oral cancer.
What happens during treatment?
Your hygienist will carefully clean your teeth, scraping away tartar and plaque. Your hygienist also will clean below the gumline to remove bacteria. This prevents periodontal disease. You may be asked to have an X-ray, which can spot cavities, gum disease, tooth decay or other issues that may be developing.
If you have gingivitis, you may be asked to have prophylaxis treatments every three to four months to bring the infection under control. Frequent prophylaxis treatments can prevent further oral health issues from developing.