Section I. INSTRUMENTS AND EQUIPMENT
In its broadest sense, the term "oral prophylaxis" encompasses all procedures
done in the mouth contributing to oral and dental health through prevention of disease.
As used in dentistry, the term refers to scaling and polishing procedures which remove
calculus, other deposits, and stains from the teeth. To perform scaling and polishing
procedures properly, the preventive dentistry specialist must understand dental and
periodontal tissues and how they react to various irritations and treatments. The PDS
must be familiar with the appearance and texture of normal oral tissue and be able to
recognize disease. He must be observant and call attention to any condition not
recorded, but which should be examined by the dental officer. The PDS must also be
thoroughly familiar with the instruments and techniques of instrumentation in performing
scaling and polishing procedures. A good oral prophylaxis is one in which the teeth
have been scaled and polished with the least trauma to tissues and restorations and the
least discomfort to the patient. Furthermore, topical fluoride solutions should be applied
to the teeth of all patients unless contraindicated.
The preventive dental specialist follows standard procedures in preparing for and
handling of patients. Personal cleanliness, cleanliness and orderliness of the treatment
room, sterilization of instruments, maintenance records, appointment scheduling, care
and maintenance of equipment, and consideration and courtesy in handling patients are
all important to the successful functioning of the oral hygiene service. Before each new
patient is admitted to the treatment room, all evidence of treatment of the previous
patient should be removed, used instruments and materials cleaned and placed in the
sterilizer or put away, soiled linens and paper covers replaced, instrument setups for the
next patient prepared, and the dental chair lowered and adjusted for easy access by the
patient. After the patient has been seated, the chair adjusted, and the protective towel
put in place, the PDS should wash and dry his hands in full view of the patient before
beginning any procedure.
INSTRUMENTS AND MATERIALS
a. Typical Instrument Setup. A typical setup of instruments and materials
used to scale and polish teeth is shown in figure 3-1. (Notice that gloves, a face mask,
and protective glasses are included. The PDS is expected to put them on before using
any of the instruments.) A toothbrush and a model set of teeth are used to demonstrate
correct toothbrushing methods.