What Is The Difference: Prophy or periodontal maintenance?

Feb. 23, 2015
Many dental professionals stumble with explaining the difference between a prophy and a periodontal maintenance appointment.

Many dental professionals stumble with explaining the difference between a prophy and a periodontal maintenance appointment. When working with dental teams to increase their case acceptance rates, a strategy many of my clients have found successful is to implement collaborative descriptive scripts and written self-care instructions.

In order to maximize the patient’s understanding of the differences and value in services, below is a sample template and implementation steps. This template is a compilation, and should be customized to support your practice’s philosophy and vision.

Action Steps:

  1. Read it and use it as a foundation to create your verbal descriptions. If applicable, share with other hygienists in your office and co-create a unified message. To increase case acceptance, it is paramount that teams speak the same language and use the same terminology.
  2. Use this template to create a patient handout (print /email). Studies continue to confirm that most of us are weak and inefficient listeners.

Sample Template.

A “prophy” or “cleaning” is a hygiene service for someone that generally has healthy gums and teeth. Based on your clinical needs, you may be scheduled a “prophy” every three or four months. Why? Possible reasons include, and are not limited to orthodontics, dry mouth, high cavity risk, sub-optimal self-care, and/or systemic conditions. Most typically, your appointments consist of “cleaning” above the gum line, using hand or ultrasonic instruments, self-care suggestions, and on an annual basis a full mouth periodontal assessment.

Periodontal maintenance is performed following therapeutic periodontal treatment — either surgical or nonsurgical (such as the “deep cleaning” or “root planing and scaling”). Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that requires ongoing therapy. A patient is never “cured” of periodontal disease, but it can be stabilized.

The recare interval may be three months (standard from evidence-based research). During a three-month period, the bacterial pathogens that cause active periodontal disease begin to repopulate or colonize, hence can reactivate the disease. Your appointments typically consist of:

  • Re-evaluating your periodontal disease (always looking at your “numbers”)
  • Checking the amount of active bleeding
  • The “cleaning” is using hand or ultrasonic instruments
  • Antimicrobial irrigation or localized placement of medicine
  • Self-care guidance

Chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension and personal habits such as smoking and your level of self-care can impact your periodontal disease treatment results.

Your oral, dental, and overall health is a team approach — your dentist, hygienist, and you. Please don’t hesitate to discuss your care with our team.

End of Template.

Learn more secrets to “Maximizing Treatment Acceptance for the Periodontal Patient” during the free Soul of Dental Wealth through Practice Health Telesummit Click here to register: http://kristineahodsdon.com/telesummit2015/

Kristine A. Hodsdon RDH, MSEC, Founder of Dental Influencers, LLC, is an executive coach, writer, and award-winning speaker. Her website is www. kristineahodsdon.com. Email is [email protected].