During your visit with your general dentist, you will most likely be given a prophy. A prophy is a temporary tooth substitute that replaces a missing or decaying tooth. A prophy is usually used in children who have lost all of their permanent teeth through root canals or dental decay. A prosthetic tooth is permanently attached to the root.
During a dental prophylaxis, a hygienist will polish your existing teeth and do some scaling with small hand tools. The polishing process removes tartar (calcium) buildup above and below the gum line. The polishing process also removes bacteria that are living on the teeth. Lastly, your gums will be disinfected. The disinfecting process does not typically include dental prophylaxis. Your dentist may also recommend that you receive a fluoride treatment at this time as well.
The dentist will most likely use an interprofessional cleaning device during your prophy. A prophy can be more inconvenient than cleaning the teeth yourself. Dentists have the benefit of being able to observe your gums closely while performing the procedure. A prophy is not recommended for children less than 16 years old. A child who is between the ages of sixteen and eighteen should have a regular dental check-up with his or her parents or a licensed dentist. A prophy is generally used only when the other procedures are ruled out.
You can purchase two types of disposable prophy angles. These include the polydynate and the polystyrene types. The former is the only type that is approved for use in all fifty states. The latex-free type is made from a material that is approved for use in thirty-two states, but does not come with a national seal of approval.
For healthy gums, regular cleaning is the best way to keep them from becoming infected or discolored. Prophy helps to accomplish this by providing a barrier between the teeth and gums. It prevents food particles and plaque from embedding themselves deep within your teeth and gums. Your regular cleaning sessions ensure that your prophy is still intact and in good condition.
Dental prophylaxis does not usually require a second opinion. In most cases, it can be done by your dentist after he or she takes a thorough look at your teeth. If your dentist determines that your gums do not contain enough bacteria, he or she can recommend a simple procedure that will dislodge any food items or plaque that might be stuck in your oral cavities. Dental prophylaxis is extremely effective, even for those who suffer from chronic tooth infections. If your gums are unhealthy, regular cleaning with a dental prophylaxis is the best way to help keep them healthy.