That fresh feeling you get when you leave the dental office after professional dental cleanings is like no other. Ever wonder why you can't achieve it on your own?
Dentists have special tools that remove deposits from our teeth, leaving our mouths feeling cleaner than when we practice good oral hygiene at home.
During your dental cleaning, a dentist or dental hygienist will polish your teeth using either a conventional hand piece or a Prophy-Jet. The Prophy-Jet is an air polishing system that combines water and baking soda to remove stains and debris from teeth.
The Prophy-Jet is a high-tech alternative to the instrument dentists have been using for years. Whereas traditional polishing relies on a rotating rubber cup containing abrasive paste to clean your teeth, the Prophy-Jet sprays high-pressured water to blast away soft deposits such as dental plaque. Baking soda acts as a pumice to scour off extrinsic tooth stains caused by foods, drinks or smoking.
Many dental offices are replacing traditional polishing with Prophy-Jet polishing, as it tends to be more effective. Plus, it's well-liked by patients who prefer the Prophy-Jet to the rotating hand piece for several reasons. For one thing, there's no unnerving sound with the Prophy-Jet -- and no vibrations either. Even better is the fact that patients don't experience that icky aftertaste from the sticky paste often associated with prophylaxis. You may not even need to rinse following your dental cleaning!
Dentists may recommend Prophy-Jet polishing prior to dental bonding or attaching dental braces. Removing dental plaque and debris from teeth will give them a "clean slate," lessening the chances of trapping irritants under the composite resin or brackets. Before teeth whitening, a cosmetic dentist may use Prophy-Jet polishing to remove surface stains. This not only helps the dentist better determine the natural color of your teeth, but the patient will also receive better results from the teeth whitening procedure.
Over time, stains can also form on your dental appliances. The Prophy-Jet can be used to remove deposits from your dentures, orthodontic appliance, mouthguard or night guard. While it's important to take care of your dental appliance at home, if it starts to lose its luster, you can take the appliance to your dentist for a thorough cleaning.
During Prophy-Jet polishing, only soft deposits and some extrinsic stains are removed from the teeth. Scaling and root planing will be needed to remove hard deposits, such as dental calculus, from the surface of the teeth and under the gum line. The Prophy-Jet won't remove intrinsic stains (tooth discoloration that comes from inside the tooth). In the cases where tooth discoloration is caused by genetics, dental fluorosis or trauma to the tooth, stains will have a better chance of being removed through other cosmetic dentistry methods, such as veneers.
Regardless, incorporating dental cleanings into your oral hygiene routine is essential to maintaining good dental health. Whether your dentist uses the exciting new Prophy-Jet or time-honored hand piece for your professional dental cleaning, the important thing is that you make regular dental visits every six months.