Regular dental cleanings are usually referred to a a “prophy”, which is short of prophylaxis. In terms of dentistry, a prophy means we are cleaning your teeth with the goal of preventing tooth and gum disease. A prophy entails removing plaque and supragingival (above the gumline) calculus. Often called “tartar”, calculus is the mineralized form of plaque that has hardened to a point where it can only be cleaned off with dental instruments.
An adult or child prophy will include removing calculus by use of hand instruments and/or an ultrasonic scaler, as well as polishing the teeth with a gritty paste to remove superficial staining. We will also recommend application of fluoride varnish to prevent future cavities.
If you are diagnosed with periodontal disease, which is disease of the gums and bone, you will not be eligible for a regular prophy. We will explain the treatment for periodontal disease at that time.