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Prophy (regular cleaning) or Prophylaxis means to prevent disease before it occurs. Dental cleaning helps to prevent plaque, tooth decay, and gum disease.  The purpose of the dental cleaning procedure is to prevent, rather than treat or cure an existing disease.  Prophylactic measures are divided between Type I prophylaxis (to prevent the development of a disease) and Type II prophylaxis (whereby the disease has already developed and the patient is undergoing maintenance to protect against worsening of this process).

Gingiva are part of the soft tissue lining of the mouth. They surround the teeth and provide a seal around them. Compared with the soft tissue linings of the lips and cheeks, most of the gingiva are tightly bound to the underlying bone and are designed to resist the friction of food passing over them. Healthy gingiva is usually coral pink, but may contain physiologic pigmentation. Changes in color, particularly increased redness, together with edema and an increased tendency to bleed, suggest an inflammation that is possibly due to the accumulation of bacterial plaque. The most common diagnostic tool to a dentist is the Dental X-ray.

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