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Reviewed by: Dr. Kristen Dority

Prophylaxis refers to the prevention of disease. In the field of dentistry, the term generally is used in reference to either professional cleaning or antibiotic treatment.

Detailed Information:
The professional cleaning of teeth is a procedure in which calculus, stain, and other accretions are removed from the clinical crowns of the teeth. Scaling and polishing are techniques used by dental hygienists to remove buildup from teeth in order to help prevent disease.

Antibiotic prophylaxis is generally indicated when dental conditions place patients in high or moderate risk groups. Extractions; periodontal procedures including surgery, scaling and root planning; dental implant surgeries; and root canal treatment that extend beyond the apex or tip of the root can require antibiotic prophylaxis.

Heart patients with a variety of symptoms and conditions including heart murmurs can also benefit from taking preventative antibiotics prior to many dental procedures that do not put other patients at risk.

Last updated: 12-May-05

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