(Routine Cleanings and Prophylaxis)
While many people consider the dental hygiene appointment to be simply "a cleaning" there is much more to the procedure than defined by that term. Routine prophylaxis is performed on a regular schedule (normally every 6 months) as a preventative procedure. During this appointment, a thorough evaluation and examination of the teeth and supporting structures is completed. Diagnosis of dental health is accomplished with complete periodontal probing and charting along with dental radio-graphs. Assessment of the soft and hard tissues as well as examination for decay is completed; routine oral cancer screening is completed as well. From the periodontal diagnosis, a treatment plan is developed and executed. If the patient exhibits no definitive signs of gum disease, the routine prophylaxis procedure is then completed with scaling and polishing.
The old saying, “the best way to stay away from a dentist is to go to the dentist” applies here, as well as, “an ounce of prevention”. In a time in which we are all conscious of health care costs we need to consider the value of a routine dental hygiene appointment. If decay or periodontal disease is diagnosed early we can address the issues before they become larger or more involved, which can add to the expense. The cost of routine dental hygiene appointments is very minimal when one considers the valuable oral and general health benefits. Generally speaking the cost of a dental preventative appointment is still a great value when compared to many medical procedures or medical office visits. In the concept of a value quotient, the cost of prevention is far less than letting things go to an end result that is far more expensive.