Prophylaxis (Teeth Cleaning)


Patients of all ages require periodic cleanings commonly known as a prophylaxis or a prophy. Cleanings are performed by a dental hygienist or a dentist. Most people only require a cleaning every 6 months or twice a year, however, some adolescents and adults have the need for additional cleanings throughout the year. Children will usually require a polishing with a rubber cup and toothpaste with little or no scaling. As children grow into their teenage years, the amount of scaling with ultrasonic and hand instruments increases. Patients that are young adults or older usually require more advanced cleaning with scaling and root planing, as well as, polishing.

If a patient has signs of periodontal disease as indicated by bone loss around their teeth, then they would require periodontal therapy. Periodontal therapy consists of the data collection, diagnosis, treatment plan development and the subsequent treatment of the periodontal disease. Many times the periodontal therapy can be performed in our office. Select advanced periodontal cases must be referred out of our office to a specialist known as a periodontist.

A dental prophylaxis is a cleaning treatment performed to thoroughly clean the teeth and gums. Prophylaxis is an important dental treatment for stopping the progression of gingivitis and periodontal disease.

Prophylaxis is an effective procedure in keeping the oral cavity in proper health and halting the progression of gum disease. The benefits include:

  • Plaque removal. Tartar (also referred to as calculus) and plaque buildup, both above and below the gum line, can result in serious periodontal problems. Unfortunately, even with a proper home brushing and flossing routine, it can be impossible to remove all debris, bacteria and deposits from gum pockets. The experienced eye of a dentist or hygienist using specialized dental equipment is necessary to catch potentially damaging buildup.
  • A healthier looking smile. Stained and yellowed teeth can dramatically decrease the esthetics of a smile. Prophylaxis is an effective treatment in ridding the teeth of these unsightly stains.
  • Fresher breath. Bad breath (or halitosis) is generally indicative of advancing periodontal disease. A combination of rotting food particles (possibly below the gum line) and potential gangrene stemming from gum infection, results in bad breath. The routine removal of plaque, calculus and bacteria at our facility can noticeably improve halitosis and reduce infection.

Prophylaxis can be performed at our office. We recommend that prophylaxis be performed twice annually as a preventative measure, but should be completed every 3-4 months for periodontitis sufferers. It should be noted that gum disease cannot be completely reversed, but prophylaxis is one of the tools Drs. Olin, Mann & Philipone can use to effectively halt its progression.