Friday, August 15, 2014


There is nothing more important to your dental health than maintaining a clean mouth. Prevention or absence of infection optimizes our general health. A clean mouth will be disease-, infection-, and trouble-free. A clean mouth will not be predisposed to developing either decay or periodontal (gum) disease. One of our very important functions in dentistry is to teach you how to properly maintain your teeth and gums, and to regularly remove anything that you are unable to remove yourself.

The theory and practice of preventive dentistry have undergone revolutionary changes in recent years. We now know that the preventive needs of every individual differ. The adage of "see you dentist regularly; get your teeth cleaned twice a year" has changed too.

What Is Prophylaxis?
Oral prophylaxis is a simple dental procedure by which your dentist or hygienist will clean your teeth using hand instruments or ultrasonic scaler. No matter how good you are at cleaning your teeth, there is always plaque left between your teeth and at the gum line. As time advances and cleaning is neglected, the early stage soft plaque will change into hard tartar (calculus). This plaque and calculus gives rise to periodontitis and gingivitis.

How Oral Prophylaxis Is Done
1. Sit back and relax on the dental chair while your dentist evaluates your medical history
2. Dentist will examine your mouth and look for signs of periodontal pockets and gum infections
3. An ultrasonic scaler will be used to clean your teeth. The scaler is a hand-held device with a hand piece and a pointy tip. It ejects pressurized water and the tip vibrates in order to remove the plaque and calculus from the teeth surface
4. Hand instruments are used to clean tricky spots and difficult to reach areas
5. If you have any cavities or gum problems, you will be notified
6. In the end, a prophylaxis paste will be used for polishing the tooth surface. A miniature rubber cup is fitted over a hand piece and small amount of prophy paste will be applied on the cup and your teeth will be polished 

How Often Should You Schedule Cleanings?
The recare and examination interval that we have recommended for you is designed for your unique situation. And it, too, can change. The interval between regular prophylaxis (cleaning) appointments that is established for you is a function of many things.
These include:
  • general health
  • dexterity and hand/eye coordination
  • age
  • diet
  • stress levels
  • oral habits
  • position and alignment of the teeth
  • number, type, size, and location of restorations
  • restorative materials used
  • periodontal history
  • location of bone and periodontal tissues
Simply stated, the more complex your dental situation and the more your tooth position and alignment deviate from the normal, the harder you will find it to keep your teeth clean and your gums healthy.

Recent studies have identified many of the microorganisms that cause gum disease and decay. They can be controlled with your help and with ours. These studies also show that a "cleaning" every 6 months may not be adequate for some patients. In order to prevent destructive oral disease, prophylaxis appointments in intervals of anywhere from 2 months to a year may be recommended. Periodontal (gum) disease can happen anywhere in your mouth at any time.

You don't have to let it happen to you! We are here to be your guide to good health.

If you have any questions about your oral care maintenance intervals, please feel free to call our office at 512-250-5012.


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