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Preventative care prevents pain and big bills, and applies more to dentistry than almost any other health care field.  Dentistry starts and ends with your care at home.  Even the best dentist in the world would be hopeless at providing healthy smiles if their patients didn’t brush and floss regularly (and correctly).  Successful preventative care consists of regular clinical hygiene visits and following hygienists prescribed care routines.

The Basics

Having your teeth regularly cleaned is as necessary as brushing your teeth and flossing every day.  You really can’t have one without the other and expect to have a healthy smile. During a routine dental cleaning a dental hygienist will clean the pockets of your teeth between the roots of the teeth and gums.  Plaque and tartar build up in these pockets overtime naturally. Brushing and flossing help combat the build up, but neither are as thorough and intensive as a clinical hygiene visit.

Prophylaxis – Clinical Hygiene Visit – A “Cleaning”

A prophylaxis also known as a standard cleaning is properly referred to as a clinical hygiene visit.  These, prophy’s for short, are your average preventative care visits. To start, the hygienist will use a cavitron ultrasonic scaling tool to break up the tartar on the surface of your teeth.  Then they will use the scaling tool to scale, or remove, plaque and tartar from gaps in between your teeth. Once the teeth have been cleaned and the plaque and tartar have been removed the hygienist will polish your teeth.  This will give your teeth that smooth, clean feeling and a new shine. Typically after the polish the hygienist will provide a fluoride treatment to your teeth to help prevent tooth decay and strengthen the enamel.