Most people have a pretty good idea of what to expect when they go into their dentist's office for a routine cleaning. However, if you've recently been told by your dentist that you need a prophylaxis procedure done, you may be a little less sure about how your appointment will go. First of all, relax; while the term may seem intimidating, prophylaxis is really no more than a deep cleaning. By having a better understanding of prophylaxis and what it entails, you can better prepare for your appointment.
It May Be Done in Lieu of a Traditional Cleaning
If it's been awhile since the last time you saw a dentist, then there's a good chance your dentist will recommend prophylaxis instead of a "typical" teeth cleaning with your hygienist.This is because regular cleaning tools may simply not be powerful enough to do a thorough job at removing long-term plaque and tartar buildup. The specialized tools used in a prophylaxis cleaning, however, can remove years of staining and plaque.
It Might Not Be Covered By Your Insurance
If you have dental coverage, be sure to check your policy paperwork ahead of time to determine whether or not prophylaxis is covered under your current insurance policy. Some policies will cover it but will charge a co-pay, whereas others may only cover it once a year. If your procedure isn't covered by your insurance, ask the billing office to give you an estimate of your out-of-pocket costs so you can plan ahead accordingly.
It Can Help to Manage Gum Disease
If you've recently been diagnosed with gum disease, such as periodontal disease, there's a good chance that you will need prophylaxis cleanings for at least a year or more instead of your typical dental cleaning. This is because prophylaxis uses tools that are able to clean and remove plaque from underneath the gum line without pain, which is key is managing gum disease and preventing it from getting worse.
It Takes a Little Longer Than a Regular Cleaning
Finally, if you're going in for a prophylaxis cleaning, be sure to budget a little more time for your appointment. While a typical teeth cleaning may take about 30 minutes, prophylaxis appointments may run closer to an hour. This is especially worth keeping in mind if you're planning on taking time off work for your dentist appointment or thinking about going during your lunch hour.