Preventative Services


Three are three main types of cleanings you may receive at our office.   The service you receive is based on the health of your gums. The differences have been explained below.



Prophylaxis in Greek this means to prevent or guard beforehand.  This is a cleaning you may receive if you do not have periodontal disease.  The dental hygienist will remove plaque and calculus (tartar) from the teeth which helps to prevent gum disease and promote healthy gums.  This procedure is usually performed every 4-6 months.

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Scaling and Root Planning

Scaling and Root Planning (Initial Deep Cleaning) this cleaning is a cleaning you may receive if you are diagnosed with gum disease (periodontal disease).  Periodontal disease causes your gums to have deep pockets (greater than 4mm) around your teeth.  These deep pockets will collect food and debris, which helps harbor harmful bacteria.  The bacteria will cause the pockets to become even deeper and a vicious cycle begins.  With this cleaning the hygienist will remove the plaque and calculus (tartar) from the teeth.  Given that the hygienist will have to clean deep into these pockets, more time and skill is needed.  The roots of the teeth which can become rough are smoothed to prevent bacteria from accumulating, thus preventing further disease.  An ultrasonic instrument is usually needed to aid in the removal of calculus (tartar).  This procedure is usually performed in quadrants (1/4 of the mouth) at a time.

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Periodontal Maintenance

This is a cleaning you may receive if you currently have or have a history of periodontal disease and you have already had Scaling and Root Planning performed.  This is done in place of a prophylaxis cleaning because the goal is to maintain healthy gums after gum disease and extra skill and effort is needed to clean around teeth with deeper pockets. This is cleaning usually performed every 4-6 months.


*Note: these procedures have a difference in cost with Scaling and Root Planning being more expensive than a Prophylaxis

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