Dental health starts with good oral hygiene. This requires professional care and guidance provided by your dentist and dental hygienist combined with proper care at home by you. That’s the partnership. When you follow a recommended home care routine and have regular professional care, you will be able to maintain healthier teeth and gums.
Why do I need a professional cleaning (prophylaxis)?
Professional cleaning removes plaque, tartar (calculus) and stain from the teeth.
What is plaque?
Plaque is a sticky film that constantly forms on all areas of your teeth. It is composed of bacteria, by-products of bacteria and your saliva. Plaque bacteria use sugar and other carbohydrates to grow and to form acids which attack tooth enamel and can cause cavities. Plaque that builds up along the gum line and between teeth in hard to reach places can be harmful. The bacteria in plaque produce toxins that can irritate the gums causing them to turn red, swell and bleed. These signs are associated with gingivitis (early gum disease). Unnoticed, ignored or simply not taken care of, gingivitis can sometimes progress to a more advanced stage of gum disease called periodontitis. It is easy to see why brushing and cleaning between teeth with floss is essential to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
What is tartar (calculus)?
Minerals in saliva combine with plaque at the tooth surface and harden into a rough, unsightly deposit called tartar (calculus). Calculus, which is mostly mineral, provides a rough surface that makes thorough plaque removal more difficult. It can form above as well as below the gum line area. Your toothbrush and floss can’t remove calculus once it has formed. Calculus can only be removed during a regular dental prophylaxis.
What does a prophylaxis (professional cleaning) do that I can’t do for myself?
A prophylaxis is a scaling and polishing procedure performed to remove normal plaque, calculus and stains. While the main objective of the prophylaxis is to help prevent gum disease, it can improve the appearance of your teeth by making them look clean and bright. Scaling is performed using instruments to remove calculus from the teeth. Polishing with a special paste by means of a motorized instrument removes remaining plaque and surface stains caused by various foods, beverages and tobacco. Polished tooth surfaces make it more difficult for plaque and debris to accumulate.
How do I get the most from my “home care” routine?
You can help improve your oral hygiene by making plaque and calculus (tartar) control part of your daily routine. Proper brushing helps remove plaque from the outer, inner and chewing surfaces of your teeth. An acceptable method for tooth brushing can be demonstrated for you by your dentist or dental hygienist. Flossing thoroughly helps remove plaque and debris from between the teeth especially in hard to reach areas at and slightly under the gum line. Your dental team will be more than happy to give you “hands on” flossing instructions. Be sure to brushing using fluoride toothpaste. This helps protect against cavities.
We are partners with you in the “battle” against dental disease. Let’s make it a winning combination!