What is a prophylaxis?

A dental prophylaxis is the medical term for a cleaning appointment. A prophylaxis thoroughly cleans the teeth to help keep your teeth, gums and mouth in good health, and to prevent or halt the progression of periodontal disease (gum disease).

What are the benefits of a teeth cleaning (prophylaxis)?

  • Tartar removal: Tartar (calculus) and plaque buildup, both above and below the gum line, can cause serious periodontal problems if left untreated. Even using the best brushing and flossing homecare techniques, it can be impossible to remove debris, bacteria and deposits from gum pockets. The experienced eye of a dentist using specialized dental equipment is needed to spot and treat problems such as tartar and plaque buildup.
  • Aesthetics: It’s hard to feel confident about a smile with yellowing, stained teeth. Prophylaxis can help rid the teeth of unsightly stains and help brighten your smile.
  • Fresher breath: Periodontal disease is often signified by persistent bad breath (halitosis). Bad breath is generally caused by a combination of rotting food particles below the gum line, possible gangrene stemming from gum infection, and periodontal problems. The removal of plaque, calculus and bacteria noticeably improves breath and alleviates irritation.

Why should I get a prophylaxis (teeth cleaning)?

Since prophylaxis or a dental cleaning appointment involves a thorough examination of the entire oral cavity, dentists are able to screen for oral cancer, evaluate the risk of periodontitis and often spot signs of medical problems like diabetes and kidney problems. Recommendations can also be provided for altering your home care regimen to improve the overall health of your smile.

How often should I get a prophylaxis (teeth cleaning)?

It is recommended to make a prophylaxis appointment twice a year or every six months as a preventative measure. If you have gum disease, diabetes or other conditions it’s recommended to do a dental cleaning every 3-4 months. Though gum disease cannot be completely reversed, prophylaxis is one of the tools our dentists can use to effectively stop its progress.