Dental prophylaxis, also known as dental cleaning, is a procedure whereby your dentist cleans your teeth to prevent you from developing dental conditions. According to dental experts, you should undergo prophylaxis at least once every six months, depending on your gum and teeth condition. However, It is critical to undergo the procedure more often to prevent the development of any dental conditions if you are prone to gum or teeth diseases.  Your dentist uses various specialized instruments to clean your teeth during the procedure. The specialist removes any plaque, stains, or tartar that may have formed on your teeth.

If you or your loved one is in Whittier, California, and needs prophylaxis, look no further than The Whittier Dentist. Our dentists are qualified and have years of experience offering dental services, including teeth cleaning. At The Whittier Dentist, we pride ourselves on offering the best prophylaxis services in Whittier, California. Therefore, if you need your teeth cleaned, do not hesitate to contact us today!

Why Should You Have Your Teeth Cleaned By Your Dentist?

It is critical to undergo routine dental check-ups. During these check-ups, your dentist may recommend teeth cleaning if they notice stains or tartar on your teeth. The purpose of the procedure is to remove any tartar and plaque that may have built up on your teeth. Your dentist also cleans the tartar that may have built up under your gum line during the procedure.  Tartar and plaque can cause tooth decay and cavities that lead to tooth loss. Your dentist will also check for signs of any other dental conditions during the procedure, including oral cancer and other dental health complications. 

The toothbrush and flossing string only reach your teeth' surface during regular cleaning. However, the dentist will clean below your gum line where the toothbrush and dental floss string do not reach during your normal dental hygiene procedure. When you cannot reach below the teeth’ gum line, tartar and plaque can form, leading to gingivitis and tooth decay.

Why Teeth Cleaning Is Critical

The purpose of the procedure is to remove any plaque or tartar below your gum line. You may wonder if the process is necessary. The answer is yes if your dentist recommends it. The difference between cleaning your teeth at home and prophylaxis is that the latter is more extensive than routine cleaning. During the process, your dentist cleans your teeth's front, back, and side. They also clean below your gum line.

The mouth contains a lot of bacteria which can lead to the formation of plaque. If left untreated, plaque forms into tartar. Although you may clean your teeth well, plaque may still develop, especially if you are predisposed to dental health conditions. Healthy gums do not bleed, nor are they swollen. On the other hand, if your gums start to bleed, swell, or hurt, you may need to visit your dentist for a dental checkup. If you leave these conditions untreated, they may develop into more serious dental problems. One of the most common conditions after prolonged tartar buildup is gingivitis and gingival recession. Gingivitis is the inflammation of your gum, while a gingival recession is the recession of your gums. When the gums recede, your teeth become sensitive to hot or cold drinks and foods. In addition, when you lose your gums, your teeth lose their support and become weak, and you can easily lose your teeth once they do not have sufficient support. That is why prophylaxis is critical to prevent such an occurrence.

Understanding More About Tartar That The Dentist Cleans During Prophylaxis

Tartar forms when plaque remains on your teeth for a long time. Over time, the plaque hardens into tartar. Tartar is a combination of naturally occurring bacteria, calcium, and other natural components found in your mouth. When plaque solidifies, tartar forms at the base of your teeth and below your gum line. Tartar is relatively easy to spot since it is yellow, black, or white. If your dentist does not clean plaque on time, it will solidify to tartar. Tartar can cause many dental conditions, including cavities, gingival recession, bad breath, and other gum diseases.

It is difficult to clean some spaces between your teeth because of the unevenness of the teeth pattern. During prophylaxis, the dentist will clean the hard-to-reach areas to avoid the advancement of any condition.

Can You Perform Prophylaxis At Home?

You should never try to remove tartar from your teeth on your own. Dentists have specialized training and tools to perform the procedure. You run a considerable risk of damaging your teeth and infecting yourself with bacteria if you perform the procedure yourself. Additionally, you can’t see the inside of your mouth, and the specialist would. This means that you will not remove all the tartar, leading to more dental complications.

How Does Your Dentist Know You Need Prophylaxis Procedure

Before your dentist decides to perform the procedure, they will examine your mouth. They will perform a physical examination and may take X-ray scans to diagnose your condition better. Before the procedure, your dentist will measure the depth of your gum using a periodontal probe. The measuring instrument is a small ruler. You have healthy gums if the measurements are 1 to 3 millimeters and your gums are not bleeding. However, if the measurements are more than 4mm or the dentist finds evidence of other dental issues, they may recommend you undergo the procedure.

If the dentist recommends the procedure, they must perform it as soon as possible. If you delay the treatment, the tartar will continue to build up, and you may lose your teeth eventually.

Preparing For The Procedure

When you arrive at your dentist’s office, they will inquire about your dental and general health history. You will have to fill in the medical form carefully and correctly since the information you provide is critical. Some preexisting conditions make the procedure riskier, and that’s why providing accurate medical history is vital. You should disclose if you suffer from any heart or liver disease. You should also state if you have had any transplants or joint replacements. You should also disclose any other illness that may compromise your immune system.

Once your dentist learns of your condition, they will be extra vigilant during the procedure to reduce the risk of introducing bacteria into your bloodstream. The introduction of bacteria during the procedure could significantly affect your health. Your dentist will also administer antibiotics before and after the procedure to mitigate the risk of infection.

Your dentist will ask you to stop using any blood-thinning medication before the teeth cleaning procedure because the medication may increase your bleeding rate during the procedure. The operation will also take much longer if your condition is advanced.

What Should You Expect During The Procedure

The procedure involves two main steps. The first step is tooth cleaning, where the dentist removes any tartar or stains. The second step is polishing your teeth. The dentist polishes your teeth because it is more difficult for plaque to stick to your teeth when they are smooth. Additionally, the polishing makes your teeth look terrific. The procedure also eliminates any pockets or rough patches on your teeth. These pockets harbor bacteria and make it easier for the tartar to form.

Although the procedure is called dental cleaning, your dentist will do much more than clean your teeth.  Before starting the procedure, your dentist will thoroughly examine your mouth. They will also check your neck and surrounding facial area. The dentist will take your vitals. They will check your temperature, blood pressure, respiration, and pulse. The dentist will also inquire about your dental and general health history. They will also thoroughly check your gums and teeth.

In some cases, the dentist will also take an X-ray to better view your teeth and gums. The X-ray will help the specialist identify any abnormalities. They can also identify any other conditions and allow your dentist to treat the ailments before they become serious. The dentist will come up with a treatment plan by the diagnosis. The dentist may need to perform various X-rays depending on the severity of your condition or depending on the diagnosis. However, the dentist will consider multiple factors when determining the number of X-rays to take. The specialist will consider your age, oral health, and other risk factors.

  • Step 1. Preparation

The dentist will work below your gum line to remove plaque and tartar. Therefore, they will administer anesthesia to make the procedure less uncomfortable. You will have to visit the dentist twice or thrice for the procedure. The dentist works on your teeth one jaw at a time. It means they will work on your upper jaw first, then your lower jaw, or vice versa. You will also have to visit your dentist after a month for a follow-up first visit, where the dentist will assess how your gums heal during the first and second visits.

You will have to visit your dentist three to four months after your treatment.  They will also check on the progress of any prior dental conditions. If the procedure does not stop the gingivitis or loss of gums, your dentist may recommend an alternative treatment. 

  • Step 2 Tooth Scaling

Although you may clean your teeth regularly, tartar may still form in some cases. Tartar is a hard substance that forms near or just below the gum line. Scaling involves using specialized equipment to clean your teeth near and below your gum line. Your dentist can either use hand-held instruments or ultrasonic instruments. If the dentist uses hand-held devices, they will use a curette and scaler. They will use them to remove or scale tartar from your teeth. When using the manual instruments, the dentist will use touch to identify the area where tartar has built up. They also use touch to determine the rough spots on your teeth. The dentist can also use ultrasonic instruments to scale your teeth. The ultrasonic device has a metal tip and water, cooling the tip. The tip removes the tartar by chipping at it, and the water washes the tartar away.

Does The Scaling Procedure Hurt?

The scaling does not hurt because the dentist uses local anesthesia. The anesthesia numbs your teeth and gums, so the process is comfortable. However, the process is usually not painful, even without local anesthesia. You can undergo the process in a single visit. However, you will have to undergo the process twice or thrice in most cases. Your gums will become a little numb after the procedure. However, you will recover after a short while if you follow proper dental hygiene.

  • Step 3: Root Planing

Your teeth are made up of three main parts. These parts include the outer covering known as the enamel, the second layer known as the dentin. The inner layer is called the pulp. If the plaque persists, it will form into tartar. If left untreated, the tartar will destroy the enamel, dentin, and pulp. During the procedure, the dentist removes tartar deep below the gums. They will also smoothen the rough surfaces. Once the dentist removes the tartar, your gums will attach to your teeth. The attachment to the gums instead of the tartar will make your teeth stronger since they have better support.

After the treatment, the specialist may recommend a drug to help recover. The dentist may recommend antibiotics to prevent the chance of an infection.

  • Step Four: Host Modulation

Your dentist may require you to undergo host modulation. The process is simple. During the procedure, your dentist will apply medicine to your teeth to prevent the condition's advancement and prevent any infection. 

How Long Does The Procedure Take To Complete?

The duration of the treatment depends on various factors, including the condition of your teeth and how many teeth your dentist will treat per visit. However, the procedure usually takes one hour or so, depending on the factors mentioned above.

Understanding The Advantages Of Prophylaxis

It is critical to undergo the procedure since it has many advantages for your dental and general health. The procedure protects your teeth from dental conditions, including gum diseases. Your dentist cleans any tartar and plaque during the procedure. The procedure protects you from cavities and tooth loss, improves your smile, and helps you have a better eating experience.

     1. It Protects Your Teeth From Developing Dental Diseases

Gingival recession is one of the most common gum diseases. The recession of your gums characterizes the condition. If the dentist does not treat the state, you may lose your teeth because they lack sufficient support. A receding gum may also give your teeth an appearance of being longer than usual. Gum recession may be a result of gingivitis. Gingivitis is the inflammation of your gums. The condition is characterized by swelling, irritation, or your gums becoming unnaturally red. Another gum condition the procedure can treat is bleeding gums. If your gums bleed after brushing, you may need to contact your dentist for treatment options. The procedure also addresses various conditions, including bad breath, swollen gums, and hurting gums.

      2. Your Dentist Gets Rids Of Any Tartar And Plaque

One of the most important reasons for prophylaxis is to remove tartar and plaque from your teeth. Plaque may form if you do not brush your teeth properly. Over time, plaque hardens and becomes tartar. The procedure targets tartar that forms on the base of your teeth and below the gum line. The chance of developing gingivitis and other gum-related diseases decreases when the specialist removes tartar and plaque from your teeth.

     3. Your Eating Experience Increases Significantly

When you develop gingival recession, your teeth become sensitive to hot or cold food and drinks. Different factors can lead to your gum recession. Your gums could recede due to using a toothbrush with hard bristles, genetic predisposition, your age, or as a result of gum disease. If the recession is due to gum disease, prophylaxis can help curb the condition before it worsens. Your teeth will no longer be sensitive after the procedure, and you will enjoy your eating and drinking experience more. Your teeth will also be firm since they have strong support.

     4. Brightens Your Teeth

Another advantage of the procedure is your teeth become brighter. The dentist will remove any stains from your teeth during the cleaning process. The stains may result from too much coffee, tobacco products, alcohol. After the procedure, the white of your teeth will be more pronounced.

Side Effects Of The Procedure

All dental procedures have side effects. However, the side effects of tooth cleaning are minimal. Below are the procedure's side effects in more detail.

  • You Run The Risk Of An Infection An Infection

You may develop an infection after the procedure.  However, your dentist will recommend antibiotics and medicinal mouthwash to prevent an infection. You will use the antibiotics and mouthwash for a few days or weeks until you recover from the procedure.

  • You May Experience Tooth Sensitivity

You may also experience some sensitivity after the procedure. Your gums may swell and become tender. However, these side effects will disappear after a few weeks. However, should the side effects persist, visit your dentist immediately.

How Do You Take Care Of Your Gums After The Procedure?

After the procedure, your dentist will advise you on the oral hygiene you should practice. Practicing excellent oral hygiene is critical to helping you recover from the procedure. The dentist will also set up appointments to monitor the healing process. They will also advise you on the best dental practices to prevent any chances of an infection. Some oral hygiene practices include brushing your teeth at least twice per day. You should also use fluoride-based toothpaste. Fluoride is critical in preventing cavities and protects your gums from other infections. You should also floss daily and use a medical mouthwash every day to prevent a resurgence of plaque and tartar.

You should also follow your dentist’s recommendation and never miss your dental appointments. Your dentist will check your healing progress and recommend any additional treatment depending on how well your gums are healing. 

How Long Does It Take To Recover From The Procedure?

In most cases, most patients recover from the procedure without any incidents. If you take care of your teeth post-prophylaxis, the condition of your gums should begin to improve.  You may experience tooth sensitivity and pain a couple of days after the procedure. Your gums may also swell, become tender and experience some bleeding. Your dentist will prescribe pills and a medical mouthwash to help heal. You should visit your dentist if you swell or bleed excessively after the procedure.

How Much Does Prophylaxis Cost?

The cost of the procedure depends on several factors. Your cost ranges from $100 upwards, depending on the dentist you visit. The extent of your condition will also influence the procedure’s cost. Other factors which determine the procedure’s cost include your age and your dentist’s location. It could cost you more if you receive additional services like an X-ray. Your insurance could also cover your cost, depending on your insurance plan.  Your insurance plan can cover fifty or one hundred percent of the cost. However, you should consult with your insurance company to know how much of the charge they will cover.

Call A Dentist Near Me

Dental hygiene is critical not only for your oral health but your general health as well. You may wonder if you need prophylaxis. The procedure is necessary if your dentist advises you to undergo the treatment. Your dentist will recommend the procedure if they discover you have plaque or tartar. If you also suffer from any gum disease, including gingivitis or gingival regression, the treatment can help curb its progression before it becomes severe. If your state does not improve, you may develop cavities, leading to tooth loss. The purpose of the procedure is to reverse the adverse effects of certain dental conditions.

If you or your loved one is in California and needs a dental checkup or treatment, you should visit or get in touch with the best dental practice. At The Whittier Dental, we have been offering dental services, including prophylaxis, to our patients for a very long time. Therefore our dentists have a wealth of experience treating all kinds of dental diseases.  Do you need any dental services in Whittier, including teeth cleaning? Please schedule an appointment by reaching us at 562-632-1223.