8218 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 415
Bethesda, MD 20814
(301) 656-1588

Hygiene Appointment


A dental prophylaxis is a cleaning procedure performed to thoroughly clean the teeth.

Proper flossing and brushing techniques will be reviewed and Patient's questions will be answered. Routine check ups are an important part of maintaining a healthy smile. The American Dental Association recommends you visit your dentist every six months for a dental examination and cleaning, in order to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Prophylaxis is recommended twice annually as a preventative measure, but should be performed every 3-4 months on periodontitis sufferers. Though gum disease cannot be completely reversed, prophylaxis is one of the tools the dentist can use to effectively halt its destructive progress. Routine radiographs help to identify a dental problem early,  minimizing costly reconstructive treatment.

Dental Prophylaxis is a cleaning procedure performed to thoroughly clean the teeth.  Prophylaxis is an important dental treatment for halting the progression of periodontal disease and gingivitis. Prophylaxis is an excellent procedure to help keep the oral cavity in good health and also halt the progression of gum disease.

Tartar Removal – Tartar (calculus) and plaque buildup, both above and below the gum line, can cause serious periodontal problems if left untreated.  Even using the best brushing and flossing homecare techniques, it can be impossible to remove debris, bacteria and deposits from gum pockets.  The experienced eye of a dentist using specialized dental equipment is needed in order to spot and treat problems such as tartar and plaque buildup.

Aesthetics – It’s hard to feel confident about a smile marred by yellowing, stained teeth.  Prophylaxis can rid the teeth of unsightly stains and return the smile to its former glory.

Fresher Breath – Periodontal disease is often signified by persistent bad breath (halitosis). Bad breath is generally caused by a combination of rotting food particles below the gum line, possible gangrene stemming from gum infection, and periodontal problems.  The removal of plaque, calculus and bacteria noticeably improves breath and alleviates irritation.

Periodontal Disease and Gingivitis occurs when bacteria from plaque colonize on the gingival (gum) tissue, either above or below the gum line. These bacteria colonies cause serious inflammation and irritation which in turn produce a chronic inflammatory response in the body. As a result, the body begins to systematically destroy gum and bone tissue, making the teeth shift, become unstable, or completely fall out. The pockets between the gums and teeth become deeper and house more bacteria which may travel via the bloodstream and infect other parts of the body. X-rays show the extent of bone and gum recession, and also aid the Dentist in identifying areas which may need future attention.

Identification of Health Issues – Many health problems first present themselves to the dentist. Since prophylaxis involves a thorough examination of the entire oral cavity, the dentist is able to screen for oral cancer, evaluate the risk of periodontitis and often spot signs of medical problems like diabetes and kidney problems. Recommendations can also be provided for altering the home care regimen.

Watch a Patient education video on Good Oral Hygiene Habits

 Fluoride Treatment


Professional fluoride treatments are recommended twice a year at a Hygiene appointment.

What is Fluoride Varnish?

Fluoride varnish is a dental treatment that can help prevent tooth decay, slow it down, or stop it from getting worse. Fluoride varnish is made with fluoride, a mineral that can strengthen tooth enamel (outer coating on teeth). Keep in mind that fluoride varnish treatments cannot completely prevent cavities. Fluoride varnish treatments can best help prevent decay when a Patient also brushes using the right amount of toothpaste with fluoride, flosses regularly, has regular dental care visits, and eats a healthy diet.

Is Fluoride Varnish Safe? 

Fluoride varnish is safe and used by dentists and doctors all over the world to help prevent tooth decay. Only a small amount is used, and hardly any fluoride is swallowed. It is quickly applied and hardens. Dr. Malcomson applies Profluorid Varnish which enables Patients to eat and drink right after their appointment. The ONLY restrictions are: no alcohol, flossing or brushing for at least four (4) hours.

How is Fluoride Varnish Applied?

Fluoride varnish is painted on the top and sides of each tooth with a small brush. It is sticky, but hardens once it comes in contact with saliva. Your child may feel the hardened varnish with his tongue but will not be able to lick the varnish off. It does not hurt when the varnish is applied.

Patients with certain medical conditions may be at a higher risk for tooth decay and often benefit from prescription strength fluoride toothpaste or fluoride trays. These trays are customized to fit your teeth. If you have dry mouth, gum disease, extensive dental restorations, undergoing radiation/chemotherapy, braces or frequent cavities, Dr. Malcomson may discuss the benefits of supplemental fluoride treatments. A desensitizing, topical fluoride medicament in a varnish form may also be applied for Patients who whiten their teeth or Patients who experience sensitivity.

'Profluorid L' is a clear (5% Sodium Fluoride) varnish, especially formulated not to interfere with bleaching and reduces hypersensitivity in Patients who may experience: cervical area and crown margins, sensitivity after professional cleaning and calculus removal, tooth surfaces after preparation and/or grinding, worn occlusal surfaces and teeth carrying clasps, after injury of the enamel (e.g. fractures, chips), sealing cavity margins after restoration, especially after the etching technique has been employed, as a dentin protection/lining under amalgam fillings and before and after the teeth whitening process.

  Watch a short Patient education video on the benefits of Fluoride Varnish

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