Name: Techniques and Innovations In Prophylaxis

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Oral prophylaxis is the strongest lever for the long-term oral health of most patients. The dental team has the basic task of informing patients individually, according to their age and comprehensively as well as practicing regular domestic prevention measures with them.

Depending on the individual risk, but as a rule twice a year, patients should make use of additional support in the form of professional prophylaxis. Thus, it’s crucial for dental professionals to keep updated with the comprehensive range of techniques and product innovations in this section.

The dental research has been investigating, often in conjunction with the dental industry, the reasons for and the course of oral diseases and the options for combatting these. And in the ideal case how to prevent them completely by timely and targeted preventative measures. By working closely together with high schools and dental practices, the industry continually develops improved and novel techniques and products.

Domestic prophylaxis: Classics connect with digital world
In oral hygiene products for use at home, the team can fall back on a vast range of options for advising the patients. For example, manual toothbrushes and electric toothbrushes with finely attuned features are available: classic flat bristles or bristles at various angles and with special functions, vibrating/rotating, sonic or ultrasonic toothbrushes.

A wide range of toothbrushes is available, depending on age-appropriate executions, such more voluminous handles for older people, special electrical toothbrush applications for denture wearers.

There is also a wide selection of toothpastes with special ingredients to fight tooth decay and periodontitis (tin halides), to prevent new discolorations (especially formulated polyphosphates) or bind fine dirt particles (activated carbon). Certain toothpastes can even contribute towards closing up microscopically small cavities.

Age-appropriate formulations include for instance those with a reduced fluoride content for children. In addition to tooth decay and periodontitis, erosions are also a danger for the integrity of the oral tissue.

These can be prevented among other things by systematic fluoridation or by tin compounds in mouthwashes. The named product groups are complemented by special interdental brushing systems, dental floss, toothpicks and many other options (anti-xerostomia gels).

The digital world can hardly be underestimated. These include displays, for example as an integral part of electric toothbrushes or as an external function unit for attaching to the mirror.

In addition there are apps for use in the bathroom, which enable the dentist to subsequently appraise the patient’s teeth-brushing behavior more efficiently and give him the corresponding valuable tips.

Professional prophylaxis: Complete collections and product selection
Where the patient’s domestic oral hygiene reaches its limits, the dental team enhances the process with a professional biofilm management. This includes among others the removal of all concretions, since they constitute the most frequent and most important plaque retentive factors.

A wide range of products is now available in the market, including instruments for the hand curettage, as well as sonic or ultrasonic, air polishing devices and air scalers. The success monitoring is carried out using the magnifying glass and tactile movements of the hand curette.

With a wealth of products at their disposal, the team can choose between a basic system (such as a collection of a certain provider or a compilation of a specialized dealer) and a completely individual selection or combine both approaches (basic system + selective additions).

Diagnostics for targeted oral prophylaxis
The basis for every prophylaxis and therapy is a well-founded diagnosis. Today, this is based on highly developed methods comprising of imaging and bio-chemical analytic techniques.

These include for instance high-resolution intra-oral cameras, camera-supported fluorescence and infra-red techniques as well as analogue and digital X-ray systems (two/three-dimensional) or computer tomography. In addition, specialized manufacturers provide molecular-biological and biochemical diagnostics systems, which can be used to record the spectra of pathogens relevant in certain oral diseases and to analyze a patient’s individual risks.

For example, periodontitis germs are detected using either the RNA hybridization technique or alternatively using conventional PCR tests or real-time PCR tests. Depending on the method implemented, even bleeding or festering pockets are not necessarily a contra-indication for the sample-taking process.

The modern diagnostics turn the dentist more and more often into the central point of contact for complex medical conditions. It is a known fact, for example, that there is a correlation between periodontal diseases and diabetes or vascular disorders. Thus, an interdisciplinary cooperation between GPs, specialists and dentists is becoming the standard in more and more fields.

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