A cleaning or ” prophylaxis ” is defined by the American Dental Association and by dental insurance companies as the removal of soft and hard plaque from the teeth that exists above the gum line. A cleaning is performed to prevent gum disease. If a patient has gum disease, just a cleaning will not help cure the disease.
Legally, only a licensed dentist or a licensed Registered Dental Hygienist can perform a cleaning. If you are unsure about the qualifications of the person cleaning your teeth please ask. Cleanings are usually recommended every six months. Depending on the patient they may be performed every three months or once a year. Routine cleanings, where indicated, are a very inexpensive measure that will help patients avoid a multitude of dental problems.