One of the most common reasons patients visit us here at Empress Walk Dental is to have their teeth cleaned, a procedure known more formally as prophylaxis. While this treatment seems simple, it is actually critical for proper oral hygiene because it protects the mouth from gingivitis and periodontal disease, which develop when bacteria that come from plaque make their home on or beneath the gum tissue. Once there, the bacteria irritate the gums so much that the body releases a chronic inflammatory response in which it starts attacking its own bone and gum tissue. This is a serious problem that will eventually result in the teeth moving around inside the mouth, becoming weak and wobbly, and even fall out altogether. When the teeth are gone, the holes that are left become breeding grounds for even more bacteria, which can then escape via the bloodstream to damage the rest of the body. Far from being as simple as brushing one’s teeth, a professional tooth cleaning is the first line of defense against the dangers of periodontitis

What Are Some of the Other Benefits of Professional Tooth Cleanings?

Prophylaxis is an essential part of good oral health and hygiene. There are several excellent benefits to having your teeth cleaned on a regular basis:

  • Tartar removal – The buildup of plaque and tartar (also known as calculus) in the areas above and below the gum line quickly becomes a major source of periodontal issues if left unchecked. No matter how thorough a patient’s daily brushing and flossing routine may be, it is often difficult if not totally impossible to get rid of every single bit of bacteria, food debris, etc. from the mouth. The oral hygiene specialists at Empress Walk Dental are specially trained to spot even the tiniest and most stubborn bits of plaque and tartar, and they have the tools to remove them before they have the chance to cause you problems. Periodic professional cleanings are an indispensable supplement to your daily oral hygiene routine.
  • Fresher breath – One of the major indicators of periodontal disease is actually repeated occurrence of bad breath, or halitosis, which is the body’s way of letting you and those around you know that your mouth is unhealthy. Bad breath is typically the result of either periodontal issues, gangrene caused by gum infection, or decaying food particles that have become stuck underneath the gum line. When you have your professionally teeth cleaned, your oral hygienist will remove the tartar, plaque, and bacteria that cause the nasty odors associated with halitosis. After the cleaning, your teeth will both feel and smell much better. Now that’s something to smile about!
  • Appearances – Research shows that an attractive smile can help people achieve their goals in many different areas of life, from getting a job to finding a date. But if you have nasty stains on your teeth or your teeth are yellowed, you may not feel comfortable showing off your pearly whites. Regular cleanings can keep your smile looking its best so you are prepared for all of the times in life when you need to present yourself in the best way possible.
  • Identification of health problems – Several health issues can actually be detected by your dentist before anyone else, including your primary care physician. Signs of diseases such as diabetes, kidney cancer, and oral cancer all show up in a comprehensive examination of the mouth and throat areas. In addition to potentially identifying these diseases early on in their progression, your dentist can also recommend ways to adjust your oral hygiene routine to improve your overall health and wellness.

How Does a Professional Tooth Cleaning Work?

The majority of our patients experience prophylaxis during their regular visits to our office for checkups and comprehensive oral exams. In some cases, it may be necessary to supply the patient with a local anesthetic.

The steps in the prophylactic process include:

  1. Supragingival cleaning – The dentist or oral hygienist utilizes special scaling tools to remove plaque and tartar from above the gum line.
  2. Subgingival cleaning – For those patients who are suffering from gum disease, this is an essential part of the prophylactic process due to the fact that the dentist can get rid of tartar (or calculus) that is lurking in the gum pockets and underneath the gums.
  3. Root planing – In this step, your dentist smooths the roots of the teeth to eradicate any lingering bacteria that can harm the gums. Due to the dangerous nature of these bacteria, this is one of the most important parts of the cleaning process.
  4. Medication – After the previous steps have taken place, oftentimes your dentist will apply an antimicrobial or antibiotic cream to your gums to kill any remaining bacteria, stimulate rapid and healthy healing of any damage, and improve your comfort levels.
  5. X-rays and comprehensive oral exam – X-rays are one of the best ways for your dentist to diagnose gum disease because they reveal the size and scope of bone and gum recession. Your dentist will also be able to tell by looking at the X-ray which parts of your mouth should be monitored for future problems.

For many of our patients, having their teeth cleaned twice per year is sufficient to prevent any major issues, but for those patients who are experiencing periodontitis, we recommend that they come in for prophylaxis more frequently, typically every 3-4 months. In these cases, regular cleanings are critical to fighting off the harmful progression of gum disease (which cannot be totally reversed).

If you’re ready to schedule your professional tooth cleaning at one of our convenient Toronto or North York locations, or if you just have questions about prophylaxis, give Empress Walk Dental a call at 416-250-8000 today!

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5095 Yonge St, Unit A1, North York, ON M2N 6Z4

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