Prophy/Routine Dental Cleaning


Routine dental cleanings or dental prophy is basically cleaning from the gum line to the crown of the teeth.  Routine dental cleanings are indicated when there is  build up of  bacteria and calcified plaque called tartar or calculus on your teeth.

People who usually are seen by a dental professional on a regular basis can also benefit from a dental prophy cleaning, even without having gum disease.

Some patients need a dental prophy every 6 months, or every 3 or 4 months depending on the amount of calculus or tartar build up.  Tartar or calculus is calcified or hardened food, plaque, and bacteria due to calcium deposits from saliva.

One way to measure the health of the gum is with periodontal probing. The readings of 1, 2 or 3 indicate healthy gums.  Readings of 4 and above can be a sign of gingivitis and/or periodontal disease. Also, bleeding is another sign of gum disease. People who have bleeding gums assume that they should stop flossing since they believe they are hurting the gums. If you are noticing your gums are bleeding, you need to floss and brush more. You should also discuss this with your dentist.

Signs of gum disease are redness of the gum, puffiness of the gum, bleeding, and sometimes an unpleasant smell of the mouth.

What is gingivitis? Gingivitis is inflammation of the gum.  The main reason for gingivitis is plaque, bacteria and the byproducts of the bacteria. In some instances, gingivitis is due to certain medications.

What is calculus? When calcium from saliva sits on plaque and hardens, it is called calculus or tartar.

What is plaque? Plaque is the soft layer of food, biofilm and bacteria in mouth.