Old couple sitting on couch and smiling

Oral prophylaxis has gained tremendous popularity in recent years due to the introduction of ultrasonic scaling instruments and other high-tech devices. This is a procedure in which bacterial plaque and tartar is removed from the surface of the teeth with the help of scaling and polishing. It is not the same as teeth whitening or coronal polishing because it is mainly performed to prevent decay and other oral complications rather than for aesthetic reasons; however, it does satisfy the patient greatly. Your dentist will be able to tell you whether you are a candidate for oral prophylaxis or not depending on the severity of stains on your teeth.

Because it involves the use of complex and expensive equipment, this procedure is quite costly. Furthermore, it takes about an hour to completely remove the stains from the teeth. Nowadays dentists use automatic scalers which do not cause any pain at all and are also quite easy to use. Moreover, these types of devices effectively remove all stains without any trouble. They are also known as ultrasonic scalers and are of two types: magnetostrictive system and piezoelectric system. The first system generates a lot of heat, while the second one does its job without producing any heat.

Oral prophylaxis is also sometimes prescribed to people who have crooked teeth before starting the treatment with braces. This is because with braces it becomes even more difficult to properly clean the teeth and the amount of plaque and food debris keeps on increasing until it starts causing problems. Oral prophylaxis should only be performed by a qualified and experienced dental hygienist. Proper dental hygiene is achieved by removing unsafe deposits from exposed and unexposed surfaces of the teeth thus preventing the formation of cavities and other serious oral conditions. Since specialized equipment is used to perform this procedure one should only have it done by a licensed dental practitioner.

Dental irrigators that are widely available on the market can also be used at home to achieve fairly acceptable teeth cleaning. These devices are recommended to people who have a difficult time cleaning their teeth because of braces or if they have wide gaps between their teeth. Such at-home treatments are excellent for the prevention of gum disease and gingivitis. They are mostly meant to replace traditional flossing. These portable and hand-held devices are being manufactured by many top-of-the-line companies specializing in oral hygiene and dental care.

Although one must learn to brush and floss their teeth properly, oral prophylaxis can be considered if you have severely stained teeth due to excessive use of tea, tobacco products, coffee or wine. However, dentists strongly advise that it should not be made a practice to have your teeth cleaned by a dental hygienist on a regular basis. Devices like oral irrigators and electric brushes can be used to achieve proper cleaning at home. It should also be noted that oral prophylaxis is not a dangerous procedure, but because of its high cost one must opt for it only when it becomes absolutely inevitable.