While dental prophylaxis sounds like a scary and painful procedure, if you have been to the dentist you have already undergone this treatment. Prophylaxis means to take an action to prevent disease and your dentist and dental hygienist does that every time you come in for a routine cleaning or deep cleaning. A deep cleaning is also called SRP; this cleaning goes beneath your teeth when you have a periodontal disease. It is a crucial measure taken to prevent or slow down the progression of periodontal disease and gingivitis. Both of these diseases occur when bacteria, from plaque, is not removed due to poor oral hygiene habits, inhabits either above or below the gum line. This bacterium causes serious inflammation and irritation (red, puffy gums that bleed) and in response to the inflammation, the body begins to destroy the gum and bone tissues to help get rid of the problem. The result of this process is that teeth will shift, become unstable or eventually fall out. Also, when teeth begin to shift, the gum pockets become deeper, which can eventually lead to bacteria entering the bloodstream.
While this might sound like a terrible condition, seeing your dentist on a regular basis can prevent any long-term effects by catching these diseases early. What is dental prophylaxi treatment? There are several stages to the prophylaxis treatment-
- Supragingival cleaning- thorough cleaning above the gum line with special tools to remove plaque buildup.
- Subgingival cleaning- removing calculus from the gum pockets and buildup below the gum. This step is especially important for patients that are in the early stages of periodontal disease.
- Root planing– during this stage, the dentist or hygienist will smooth the root of the tooth to eliminate any bacteria.
- Medication- if the patient has deep gum pockets that may be prone to infection, following the cleaning stages, an antibiotic cream can be used to promote healing and prevent infection.
- X-ray– routine x-ray’s can reveal the extent of bone and gum recession and help locate areas that require further monitoring.
This procedure should be done two times a year for preventative purposes and three to four times a year in patients that suffer from periodontal disease. If you’re looking for a new dentist in the Miami area or just way overdue for an exam, contact Doral Sedation & Family Dentistry today to schedule an appointment.