Dental Cleanings in Scripps Ranch
Brushing and flossing are important to a healthy mouth, but unfortunately, at-home hygiene habits are not enough to prevent dental problems like cavities and gum disease. Dr. Jennifer Santoro and our team at Village Center Dentistry recommend that you supplement brushing and flossing with regular dental cleanings at least twice a year. These cleanings are intended to target the areas of the mouth that a toothbrush and piece of floss can miss. We offer two different types of dental cleanings: “prophy” cleanings and periodontal maintenance.
Dental Cleanings: Prophy vs. Periodontal
Dental prophylaxis or “prophy” cleanings are regular teeth cleanings performed on people with generally healthy teeth and gums. The goal of these cleanings is to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. During the cleaning, the hygienist team removes soft plaque and tartar that have accumulated on the teeth above the gumline; the cleaning extends slightly below the gumline, too. Prophy cleanings are recommended approximately every four to six months, depending on your individual oral health and needs.
Periodontal maintenance is designed for patients with the early stages of gum disease or other problems with the gums. These can include gum “pockets” where the gum tissue has pulled away from the teeth, bleeding gums and exposed tooth roots. Managing gum disease is critical because as the disease advances, it can destroy the structures holding the teeth in place. Also, gum disease has been linked to serious health problems including heart disease. Keeping the gums healthy is good for your oral and overall health.
What Happens During a Prophy Cleaning
Prophy cleanings are performed by our registered dental hygienists during regular dental visits. Our hygienist will use special instruments to clean your teeth above the gumline to get rid of plaque, tartar and other debris that has built up over time and cannot be removed with a toothbrush or floss. Once the deposits have been removed, the tooth surfaces are smoothed and polished. Your hygienist may finish by applying a fluoride varnish to the teeth.
Teeth cleanings are meant to be gentle and should not cause you any discomfort; if something hurts, please let us know so we can adjust our techniques to make you more comfortable.
Following your cleaning, our hygienist and Dr. Santoro will examine your tooth surfaces, gums, lips, tongue, face, neck and throat for any problems. We will also check any restorations to ensure they are fully functional.
What Happens During Periodontal Maintenance
During periodontal maintenance, our team will focus on cleaning localized pockets previously treated by a deep cleaning. A periodontal maintenance cleaning is deeper than a normal “prophy” cleaning. With regular deeper cleanings, the plaque bacteria is reduced and it helps the infection to decrease to allow pockets to consistently shrink or be maintained depending on your periodontal situation. At the end of all periodontal maintenance appointments, the gums are irrigated with a prescription-strength antibacterial mouthrinse. We usually recommend several maintenance visits spaced a few months apart to ensure your gums heal and the disease does not return.
Book Your Next Dental Exam
To book your next dental exam at Village Center Dentistry, please call or email our office today.