Dental prophylaxis: Better safe than sorry!

Almost every child knows how important oral hygiene is. But no matter how well we brush, we simply cannot reach some areas properly at home in front of the mirror. Teeth that are cared for through individual prophylaxis remain permanently healthy and are aesthetically more pleasing: tooth surfaces that are so smooth that you run your tongue over them again and again; the new confidence when talking, laughing and eating. Nothing can motivate you more and better to continue to take action against caries and periodontitis! 



Prophylaxis - What is it all about?


Even if you brush your teeth thoroughly and consistently, you cannot completely prevent tartar or caries from forming in hard-to-reach places or gums from becoming inflamed. An electric toothbrush, the use of mouthwash and interdental brushes are a very good basis for cleaning your teeth, but it is good to have a professional take a look at your teeth from time to time. That's why semi-annual check-ups with your dentist are so important: he or she can detect diseases in the oral cavity at an early stage and you can find out what needs to be improved from a medical point of view. That's smart, because if you're diagnosed early enough, it's almost always possible to have a gentle and painless treatment, and major damage can be avoided right from the start. You should not leave the health of your teeth to chance: Prevention instead of a drill!



How does good dental prophylaxis work?


Good dental prophylaxis takes place both at the dentist's office and at home. Regular dental check-ups at the dentist's should be done at least once, preferably twice a year. In addition to daily care, you can also check your brushing habits at home at regular intervals, e.g. by using so-called staining tablets. These stain the bacterial plaque and you can see exactly where something needs to be done. This is not only a playful procedure for children - it is also very interesting for adults!



What does the dentist do during a prophylaxis appointment?


The aim of the check-up is to detect diseases at an early stage and to initiate treatment if necessary. The dentist therefore examines all teeth and records in a dental chart which teeth are missing, which are filled, crowned or replaced. In addition, the dentist pays attention to the oral mucosa, gum pockets, tartar and also changes in the tongue. In addition, the removal of tartar - also called professional dental cleaning (PZR) - makes sense because bacterial plaque irritates the gums and can lead to inflammation. Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) can develop into inflammation of the periodontium and lead to bone loss (periodontitis). In order to avoid this, the doctor can react early thanks to prophylaxis before costly treatments become necessary. In addition, discolouration can be reduced - and your teeth will shine again in healthy splendour! During periodontal screening, which is part of prophylaxis, the dentist measures the upper and lower jaw for gum pockets with a small special probe. This procedure allows a rough estimate of whether or not periodontitis requires treatment.



What does the national health insurance pay?


In Germany, the national health insurance covers individual prophylaxis for children up to the age of 17. For adults, twice-yearly check-ups are free and periodontitis screening is free every two years.



What other benefits are there?


Many statutory health insurances cover the costs of professional teeth cleaning (PZR) or at least grant a subsidy. However, the amount of the benefit and the conditions under which the insured person receives the benefit vary greatly. In most cases, health insurance funds cover a majority share of the average treatment costs of €80. However, such offers are voluntary statutory benefits that each health insurance fund can decide on independently of the Kassenzahnärztliche Bundesvereinigung (kzbv). The best thing to do is to check the website of your health insurance company or give them a call! Of course, private supplementary insurances offer further advantagesn.