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  • Salinas, CA - 1112 Pajaro St. 93901
  • Hollister, California - 1710 Memorial Drive 95023
  • (831) 424-2214 | Salinas, CA - 1112 Pajaro St.
  • (831) 424-2214 | Hollister, California - 1710 Memorial Drive

Prophylaxis (Teeth Cleaning)

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

Periodontal disease and gingivitis occur when bacteria from plaque colonize on the gingival (gum) tissue – either above or below the gum line. These bacteria colonies cause serious inflammation and irritation which in turn produce a chronic inflammatory response in the body.  As a result, the body begins to systematically destroy gum and bone tissue, making the teeth shift, become unstable, or completely fall out.  The pockets between the gums and teeth become deeper and house more bacteria which may travel via the bloodstream and infect other parts of the body.

Reasons for prophylaxis/teeth cleaning

Prophylaxis is an excellent procedure to help keep the oral cavity in good health and also halt the progression of gum disease.

Here are some of the benefits of prophylaxis:

  • Tartar removal – Tartar (calculus) and plaque buildup, both above and below the gum line, can cause serious periodontal problems if left untreated.  Even using the best brushing and flossing homecare techniques, it can be impossible to remove debris, bacteria and deposits from gum pockets.  The experienced eye of a dentist using specialized dental equipment is needed in order to spot and treat problems such as tartar and plaque buildup.

  • Aesthetics – It’s hard to feel confident about a smile marred by yellowing, stained teeth.  Prophylaxis can rid the teeth of unsightly stains and return the smile to its former glory.

  • Fresher breath – Periodontal disease is often signified by persistent bad breath (halitosis).  Bad breath is generally caused by a combination of rotting food particles below the gum line, possible gangrene stemming from gum infection, and periodontal problems.  The removal of plaque, calculus and bacteria noticeably improves breath and alleviates irritation.

  • Identification of health issues – Many health problems first present themselves to the dentist.  Since prophylaxis involves a thorough examination of the entire oral cavity, the dentist is able to screen for oral cancer, evaluate the risk of periodontitis and often spot signs of medical problems like diabetes and kidney problems.  Recommendations can also be provided for altering the home care regimen.

What does prophylaxis treatment involve?

Prophylaxis can either be performed in the course of a regular dental visit or, if necessary, under general anesthetic.  The latter is particularly common where severe periodontal disease is suspected or has been diagnosed by the dentist.  An endotracheal tube is sometimes placed in the throat to protect the lungs from harmful bacteria which will be removed from the mouth.

Prophylaxis is generally performed in several stages:

  1. Supragingival cleaning – The dentist will thoroughly clean the area above the gum line with scaling tools to rid them of plaque and calculus.

  2. Subgingival cleaning – This is the most important step for patients with periodontal disease because the dentist is able to remove calculus from the gum pockets and beneath the gum line.

  3. Root planing - This is the smoothing of the tooth root by the dentist to eliminate any remaining bacteria.  These bacteria are extremely dangerous to periodontitis sufferers, so eliminating them is one of the top priorities of the dentist.

  4. Medication - Following scaling and root planing, an antibiotic or antimicrobial cream is often placed in the gum pockets.  These creams promote fast and healthy healing in the pockets and help ease discomfort.

  5. X-ray and examination – Routine X-rays can be extremely revealing when it comes to periodontal disease.  X-rays show the extent of bone and gum recession, and also aid the dentist in identifying areas which may need future attention.

Prophylaxis is recommended twice annually as a preventative measure, but should be performed every 3-4 months on periodontitis sufferers.  Though gum disease cannot be completely reversed, prophylaxis is one of the tools the dentist can use to effectively halt its destructive progress.

If you have questions or concerns about prophylaxis or periodontal disease, please contact our practice.

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Testimonials

Dr. Wetzel is an absolutely incredible gem of a dental surgeon. In every manner of incredible he and his lovely assistant deserves major props.

I am or was a big chicken of the procedure, but based on a small Asian jaw, awful bite and one horizontally impacted wisdom tooth that was causing bone loss, and another slanted and also impacted I had to do something. Due to difficulty taking time off work I got 7 teeth taken out for braces, bite and health. I was terrified to be honest but the office is beautiful, a great place to drool all over yourself ( more on that later) and the pain is minimal considering 2 impacted wisdom teeth are difficult to manage.

I only remember talking to him and joking with him when all of a sudden my memory lapsed and I woke up feeling no pain and they were almost done. I was in disbelief but I remembered hearing about that. There is super slight soreness now 12 hours post op but it actually is better than the soreness from braces! Isn't that crazy? Lastly as someone who only had dentists aged 55 and older I can tell you don't worry. His youthful appearance belies his ability and incredible expertise. :)

Oh and a Warning! You will drool everywhere and I wish I bought a towel for that. Lol. In any case definitely come see him. The drive is worth his ability and he and his assistant is honest, intelligent, kind and super duper skilled!
Tracy is also super kind and the entire staff is great!

I will trust him not only for my first surgery but every one thereafter!

Miss W.

Great periodontist. Very professional and competent. Prices are reasonable compared to similar services elsewhere. Reception staff and nurses are very kind and takes time to explain everything and address all concerns. I highly recommend this office.

Sara G.

Dr. Wetzel is a real professional as well as a likeable person. You don't always get that in an oral surgeon. LOL. His staff is super friendly and you really feel that the whole office cares about your well being. Also, Dr. Wetzel instills me with confidence. I trust him with any procedure. So far I have had a bone graft, an extraction, and a large gum graft. I am looking toward to two dental implants and another gum graft and bone graft. You can tell he is really focused on the task at hand when he is doing a procedure and he takes surgery to the level of an art. Clearly, he has the experience and skills to improvise when he runs into snafus. I had a question about my pain after my last surgery and called his after-hours emergency number, and he called me back within 2 minutes. You can't ask for more than that. Also, if you have Delta Dental, then Tracy will lay out your whole plan for all of your work and tell you how much is covered by Delta and how much you will have left to pay. No surprises. Plus, Dr. Wetzel's new office is super cool. The design is tres chic;) I wish he did regular dentistry too.

Dr. Felicia D.

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Office Location

  • Salinas
  • 1112 Pajaro St.
  • Salinas, CA
  • 93901
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  • Call: (831) 424-2214