Prophylaxis (Teeth Cleaning)

A dental prophylaxis is a cleaning treatment performed to thoroughly clean the teeth and gums. Prophylaxis is an important dental treatment for stopping the progression of gingivitis and periodontal disease.

Prophylaxis is an effective procedure in keeping the oral cavity in proper health and halting the progression of gum disease. The benefits include:

  • Plaque removal. Tartar (also referred to as calculus) and plaque buildup, both above and below the gum line, can result in serious periodontal problems. Unfortunately, even with a proper home brushing and flossing routine, it can be impossible to remove all debris, bacteria and deposits from gum pockets. The experienced eye of a dentist or hygienist using specialized dental equipment is necessary to catch potentially damaging buildup.
  • A healthier looking smile. Stained and yellowed teeth can dramatically decrease the esthetics of a smile. Prophylaxis is an effective treatment in ridding the teeth of these unsightly stains.
  • Fresher breath. Bad breath (or halitosis) is generally indicative of advancing periodontal disease. A combination of rotting food particles (possibly below the gum line) and potential gangrene stemming from gum infection, results in bad breath. The routine removal of plaque, calculus and bacteria at our facility can noticeably improve halitosis and reduce infection.

Prophylaxis can be performed at our office. We recommend that prophylaxis be performed twice annually as a preventative measure, but should be completed every 3-4 months for periodontitis sufferers. It should be noted that gum disease cannot be completely reversed, but prophylaxis is one of the tools Dr. Chowning can use to effectively halt its progression.

Why Is Dental Hygiene So Important? 

Dental hygiene is so important because when you don’t properly brush and floss or attend regular preventative dental appointments, you will get a buildup of plaque and tartar which causes tooth decay and gum disease. 

Without regular checkups, you also risk oral health problems going undetected and becoming more severe when they could have been caught early enough to reverse with minimally invasive treatment. 

The later an oral health problem is detected, the more invasive and costly treatment will be. You may even lose a tooth, which will make it more difficult to speak clearly, chew your food, and maintain your smile. 

Many conditions are only reversible in the early stages, such as gum disease and oral cancer. If tooth decay is left untreated, it will cause an infection that needs to be treated immediately to prevent spreading to the other teeth or through the bloodstream. 

Your oral health is closely linked to your overall health. Many oral health conditions increase your risk for serious health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

What to Expect At Your Dental Cleaning Appointment

Dr. Chowning will examine your teeth to look for signs of oral health problems. We will look for signs of tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. If we detect any problems or don’t have x-rays on file, we will take digital scans to get a clearer picture of your oral health.

We may biopsy certain lesions that appear to be abnormal and send them for lab testing to rule out oral cancer. During your cleaning, a scaling tool will be used to scrape plaque and tartar from above the gum line. 

Then, we will polish your teeth by brushing them with a powerful electric toothbrush. Debris will be removed from between the teeth by flossing them. Then, we apply a fluoride varnish to your teeth for extra cavity protection.

Benefits of Getting Your Teeth Cleaned Regularly

Regular teeth cleanings will prevent bad breath, keep your teeth looking white, and prevent oral health problems from developing or worsening. This ultimately will save you money and time on restorative treatment by preventing these oral health problems in the first place.

Plaque buildup causes many oral health problems, but did you know it can also wreak havoc on your blood sugar? Poor oral hygiene can increase your risk of developing diabetes. If you are diabetic or prediabetic, it’s important to attend regular cleanings to keep your blood sugar in check. 

Caring for your teeth will also prevent your risk of oral health problems that can take years off of your life, such as heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and Alzheimer’s.

Are Teeth Cleanings Covered By Insurance?

Yes, most dental insurance plans cover preventative treatments such as dental cleanings at 80 to 100% of the cost. This is because this treatment is such an important preventative tool to maintain good oral health and prevent serious conditions that require invasive, time-consumingly, and expensive treatment. 

Cleanings prevent the risk of tooth infections and tooth loss which are more of a liability, which is why insurance plans give the most coverage to prevention rather than restorative treatments. Contact your insurance provider directly to find out how much coverage you have for teeth cleanings. 

If you don’t have insurance, we offer financing through CareCredit. If you want to schedule a cleaning or have any questions about the cost, contact us at Timberlake Dental today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Rodney Chowning.