A comprehensive dental exam will be performed
by Dr. Prilutsky at your initial dental visit. At regular check-up
exams, Dr. Prilutsky will include the following:
Examination of diagnostic x-rays
(radiographs): Essential for detection of decay,
tumors, cysts, and bone loss. X-rays also help determine tooth and root
Oral cancer screening: Check
the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs
of oral cancer.
Professional Dental Cleaning
A dental prophylaxis is a cleaning procedure
performed to thoroughly clean the teeth. Prophylaxis is an important
dental treatment for halting the progression of periodontal disease and
Periodontal disease and gingivitis occur when
bacteria from plaque colonize on the gingival (gum) tissue, either above
or below the gum line. These bacteria colonies cause serious
inflammation and irritation which in turn produce a chronic inflammatory
response in the body. As a result, the body begins to systematically
destroy gum and bone tissue, making the teeth shift, become unstable, or
completely fall out. The pockets between the gums and teeth become
deeper and house more bacteria which may travel via the bloodstream and
infect other parts of the body.
Professional dental cleanings (dental
prophylaxis) will include the following:
- Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus
is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for some time and is
now firmly attached to the tooth surface. Calculus forms above and
below the gum line and can only be removed with special dental
- Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky,
almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony
of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produce
toxins (poisons) that inflame the gums. This inflammation is the start
of periodontal disease!
- Teeth polishing: Remove stain and
plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.
Reasons for prophylaxis/teeth cleaning
Prophylaxis is an excellent procedure to help keep the oral cavity in good health and also halt the progression of gum disease.
Here are some of the benefits of prophylaxis:
Tartar removal – Tartar
(calculus) and plaque buildup, both above and below the gum line, can
cause serious periodontal problems if left untreated. Even using the
best brushing and flossing homecare techniques, it can be impossible to
remove debris, bacteria and deposits from gum pockets. The experienced
eye of a dentist using specialized dental equipment is needed in order
to spot and treat problems such as tartar and plaque buildup.
Aesthetics – It’s hard to feel
confident about a smile marred by yellowing, stained teeth.
Prophylaxis can rid the teeth of unsightly stains and return the smile
to its former glory.
Fresher breath – Periodontal
disease is often signified by persistent bad breath (halitosis). Bad
breath is generally caused by a combination of rotting food particles
below the gum line, possible gangrene stemming from gum infection, and
periodontal problems. The removal of plaque, calculus and bacteria
noticeably improves breath and alleviates irritation.
Identification of health issues – Many health
problems first present themselves to the dentist. Since prophylaxis
involves a thorough examination of the entire oral cavity, the dentist
is able to screen for oral cancer, evaluate the risk of periodontitis
and often spot signs of medical problems like diabetes and kidney
problems. Recommendations can also be provided for altering the home
What does prophylaxis treatment involve?
Prophylaxis can either be performed in the course of a
regular dental visit or, if necessary, under anesthesia. The latter is
particularly common where more serious periodontal disease is suspected
or has been diagnosed by the dentist.
Prophylaxis is generally performed in several stages:
Supragingival cleaning – The dentist will thoroughly clean the area above the gum line with scaling tools to rid them of plaque and calculus.
Subgingival cleaning – This is
the most important step for patients with periodontal disease because
the dentist is able to remove calculus from the gum pockets and beneath
the gum line.
Root planing - This is the
smoothing of the tooth root by the dentist to eliminate any remaining
bacteria. These bacteria are extremely dangerous to periodontitis
sufferers, so eliminating them is one of the top priorities of the
Medication - Following scaling
and root planing, an antibiotic or antimicrobial cream is often placed
in the gum pockets. These creams promote fast and healthy healing in
the pockets and help ease discomfort.
X-ray and examination –
Routine X-rays can be extremely revealing when it comes to periodontal
disease. X-rays show the extent of bone and gum recession, and also aid
the dentist in identifying areas which may need future attention.
Prophylaxis is recommended twice annually as a
preventative measure, but should be performed every 3-4 months on
periodontitis sufferers. Though gum disease cannot be completely
reversed, prophylaxis is one of the tools the dentist can use to
effectively halt its destructive progress.
If you have questions or concerns about prophylaxis or periodontal disease, please ask Dr. Prilutsky.