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A dental prophylaxis is a cleaning treatment performed to thoroughly clean the teeth and gums.  Prophylaxis is an important dental treatment for stopping the progression of gingivitis and periodontal disease.


A professional dental prophylaxis is an effective procedure in keeping the oral cavity in proper health and halting the progression of gum disease. Benefits include:

  • Hard and soft bacterial removal: Tartar (also referred to as calculus) and plaque buildup, both above and below the gum line, can result in serious periodontal (gum) problems. Unfortunately, even with a proper home brushing and flossing routine, it can be impossible to remove all debris, bacteria and deposits from under the gumline. Using specialized dental instruments, a dental hygienist or dentist removes this potentially damaging buildup.

  • A healthier looking smile: Stained and yellowed teeth can dramatically decrease the esthetics of a smile.  Prophylaxis is an effective treatment in removing the stains on teeth.

  • Fresher breath: Bad breath (or halitosis) is generally indicative of advancing periodontal disease. A combination of food particles (possibly below the gum line) and gum infection can result in bad breath.  The routine removal of plaque, calculus and bacteria can noticeably improve bad breath and reduce infection.


Prophylaxis can be performed by a dental hygienist at your general dentist, depending on your periodontal health. The Georgia Dental Hygienists’ Association recommends that a dental prophylaxis be performed twice annually as a preventative measure. However, patients with periodontitis (gum disease) may need to be seen on a more frequent basis, such as every 3-4 months.  


It should be noted that gum disease cannot be completely reversed, but regularly scheduled preventive dental care is a tool that may be used to help effectively halt its progression.

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