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Dental Prophylaxis & Exams

What is a dental prophylaxis and exam?

A dental prophylaxis or cleaning is a routine, preventive procedure. It is the removal of dental plaque from teeth with the intention of preventing cavities (dental caries), gingivitis, and periodontal disease. People clean their own teeth by brushing and flossing, and dental hygienists removes hardened deposits (tartar) not removed during regular home routine.The hygienist then polishes the teeth to remove any stains.

As part of the exam, your dental hygienist will update your medical history to see if there have been any changes in your health, such as pregnancy, new diagnosis, medications, or other updates. As a preventive measure, they will an evaluation of gum tissue, and a physical and visual examination of your mouth and neck to screen for oral cancer.

How often to do dental prophylaxis?

The frequency of attending dental prophylaxis treatments is not a "one size fits all" situation. Some people need to see their dental professionals for a prophylaxis appointment twice a year. However, certain people should follow a different schedule. If your teeth and gums are very healthy, you may not need to go as often. On the other hand, if you have a high risk of dental disease, you may need to up your frequency.

It may be smart for people in high-risk groups to attend a dental prophylaxis appointment every three or four months. These groups include people who smoke, people with gum disease, and people who often get cavities. Pregnant women and people with diabetes or weakened immune systems may also need more appointments than just twice a year.

Have a conversation with your dental professionals about how often you should schedule these visits. They'll want to know of any recent changes to your overall health, not just your teeth, that may affect the frequency at which they see you.

A dental prophylaxis appointment is meant to serve as an essential preventive measure for keeping your mouth healthy and your smile bright. With an oral examination, X-rays, periodontal probing, teeth cleaning, and a relationship with your dental professional in which you feel comfortable discussing your questions and concerns, you are on the ideal track to keeping your mouth as healthy as it can be!

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