What is Oral Prophylaxis?
Prophylaxis is nothing but any medical or public health procedure whose purpose is to prevent, rather than treat or cure, disease. Roughly, prophylactic measures are divided between primary prophylaxis(to prevent the development of a disease) and secondary prophylaxis (whereby the disease has already developed and the patient is protected against worsening of this process).
And hence Oral Prophylaxis is the removal of plaque, calculus, and stains from the exposed and unexposed surfaces of the teeth by scaling and polishing as a preventive measure for the control of local Irritants.
What does the Oral Prophylaxis include?
Since the dental prophylaxis is the cornerstone for a lifetime of dental health, the routine dental should include:
• Personal oral hygiene evaluation, home care review and recommendations.
• Supra gingival (above the gum) scaling to remove plaque and tartar from all visible tooth surfaces.
• Tooth brushing and flossing instructions.
• Debridement of tartar beneath the gum, as conditions warrant.
• Topical fluoride treatment.
• Polishing the teeth.
• Nutrition assessment, if needed.
• Periodontal charting and scheduling of additional periodontal care as indicated.
There are various procedures involved in the removal of plaque, calculus and stains like periodontal scaling and root planning and polishing.
Periodontal Scaling: Removal of calculus may be performed by a licensed dental hygienist or dentist, either by manual scaling of the teeth, or with an ultrasonic device. Light or moderate tartar buildup is commonly removed by manual scaling instruments of various shapes and sizes .The ultrasonic scaler, is often indicated for the efficient removal of heavy, tenacious tartar and stain The hygienists may follow its use with hand scaling for a more finite smoothing of tooth and root surfaces.
Root planning: It is the definitive procedure designed for the removal of cementum and dentin that is rough, and/or permeated by calculus or contaminated with toxins or microorganisms. Some soft tissue removal occurs. This procedure may be used as a definitive treatment in some stages of periodontal disease and as a part of pre-surgical procedures in others.
Polishing: The dental prophylaxis is refined by a final polishing of the teeth to remove stain and create a sensation of fresh breath and a clean mouth.
Dental Cleaning for Children:
The dental prophylaxis is especially important for children to establish good oral hygiene practice and to appreciate the importance of dental health. The regular application of topical fluoride, early detection of orthodontic (bite) problems, and an evaluation for pit and fissure sealants are part of preventive dental health in children.