What is a prophylaxis?

Do you know what a dental prophylaxis is? While it sounds very scientific and technical, Detroit dentist Dr. Aziza Askari wants you to know that “prophylaxis” is just a fancy word for a teeth cleaning, but it is an important dental treatment for halting the progression of periodontal disease and gingivitis.

Why do I need a prophylaxis/teeth cleaning?

A professional teeth cleaning is one of the best things you can do for the health of your teeth, gums, and smile overall. Some of the benefits of a cleaning include:

  • Tartar removal: Also called calculus, tartar and plaque accumulate at the gum line and can cause serious problems if left untreated. Even proper brushing and flossing habits may not be enough to fully remove the plaque, so professional dental cleanings are necessary to remove harmful bacteria and ensure that your mouth stays clean, healthy, and gum disease-free.
  • Aesthetics: Often, yellow or “streaky” teeth are signs of built-up plaque and tartar. Prophylaxis can rid the teeth of unsightly stains and return the smile to optimal health and appearance. Additionally, you’re much more likely to flash a big, bright, confident smile if your teeth are clean and healthy.
  • Fresher breath: Chronic bad breath, medically known as halitosis, is often the first sign of more serious dental problems, including gum disease. Bad breath is usually the direct result of food particles and bacteria that have attached themselves to teeth at the gum line, and this buildup can quickly lead to infection. Removal of this plaque, calculus, and bacteria can instantly improve breath and alleviate irritation.

What does prophylaxis treatment involve?

Depending on your needs, teeth cleanings can be performed with or without mild anesthetic. If you suffer from advanced periodontal disease or a fear of the dentist or dental work, Dr. Askari will provide you with the proper level and type of sedation. Whether sedation is used or not, prophylaxis is generally performed in several stages:

  1. Supragingival cleaning: This part of the cleaning takes place above the gum line and works to rid the area of plaque and calculus.
  2. Subgingival cleaning: This part of the cleaning takes place beneath the gum line to remove calculus from the gum pockets. This is the most important step for patients with periodontal disease.
  3. Root planning: This is the smoothing of the tooth root to eliminate any remaining bacteria.
  4. Medication: If necessary, Dr. Askari will prescribe any medication, antibiotics, or antimicrobial cream to help promote healing and ease any discomfort following scaling and root planning.
  5. X-rays and examination: Routine x-rays can be extremely helpful when diagnosing and treating periodontal disease because they show the extent of bone and gum recession. After examining your mouth with x-rays and the naked eye, Dr. Askari can determine the next course of treatment to restore your mouth to optimal health.

The American Dental Association recommends bi-annual prophylaxis and examinations, and Dr. Askari agrees. To reserve an appointment for early next year, call Comfort Dental Spa, located in Farmington Hills, Michigan, at (248) 474-6434 or visit us online at comfortdentalspa.com.