What is prophylaxis? Why it matters, how we account for the “whole person” in Ontario, CA
Generally, dentistry-related prophylaxis in Ontario, CA, and elsewhere refers to those measures that are taken to prevent the development and progression of the disease. Also known as “prophy,” prophylaxis is derived from Greek and Latin words that refer to “keeping guard.” One of the best ways we at Ontario Dental Center can “guard” or protect your oral health and overall wellbeing is with professional teeth cleaning services. These services generally involve removing plaque, tartar, bacteria, and stains that build-up on the teeth and at the gumline.
Using special instruments, our hygienists are trained on how to effectively and safely remove the build-up that is constantly forming on your teeth. Hardened plaque (calculus or tartar) cannot be removed with brushing and flossing. These substances erode at the tooth from the inside out and also irritate and inflame the gums. Eventually, spaces form between the teeth and gums. We measure those “pockets” to determine the extent of damage or disease that is present. This is important because how we manage early-stage gingivitis is far different from the recommended treatment for more advanced disease or periodontitis.
During these appointments, Dr. Mukesh Patel also evaluates your teeth and gums. He has the diagnostics onsite to detect early erosion and other oral problems that may not be detectable with the human eye alone. These preventive services are critical to your oral health because conditions such as gum disease are often “silent” or do not produce symptoms until after they have progressed. More advanced gum disease causes irreversible damage and tooth loss.
A note on customized care
Depending on what Dr. Patel finds during your exam, scaling and root planing (or a “deep cleaning”) may be recommended. This service resolves active disease, partly by smoothing out the root surfaces to eradicate bacterial toxins that attach to those areas. We also account for patients’ comorbidities. For instance, if you or a family member have a history of endocarditis, which is an infection of the inner lining of the heart chambers and valves, or other cardiac conditions (such as congenital defects), preventive antibiotics may be prescribed before your cleaning or before other dental and medical procedures. These antibiotics generally help to destroy or alleviate the harmful pathogens responsible for endocarditis and other complications. Interestingly, there is a strong heart-health/oral-health connection; oral inflammation may also inflame blood vessels, increasing the risk of a heart attack. Likewise, endocarditis can arise when bacteria in the oral cavity enters the bloodstream and attaches to damaged parts of the heart.
Thus, presenting yet another case for keeping your teeth, gums, and related oral structures at their healthy best. Since Ontario Dental Center gets to know you as a whole person, we are best equipped to provide safe, effective care that accounts for more than your mouth. If you live in the Chino, Montclair, Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Pomona, and Claremont area, schedule an appointment at the Ontario, CA office. Call (909) 414-3535.