Professional Oral Prophylaxis: Assessment of Practice by Oral Health Professionals in Southeastern Nigeria

  • Nneka Kate Onyejaka
  • Nkolika Pamela Uguru
  • Chibuzo Chiemezie Uguru
Keywords: Calculus, dental professionals, oral prophylaxis, plaque


Background: Professional oral prophylaxis reduces plaque and calculus levels and improves oral health. This study identified the practice of routine scaling and polishing among oral health professionals.

Methodology: This was a cross‑sectional study of 73 oral health professionals who attended the Southeast Oral Health Forum at Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria. Data on sociodemographic profile, the undertaking of scaling and polishing of the teeth, reasons for the scaling and polishing, recommendation of scaling and polishing to their patients, and duration of recall were recorded. Data analysis was done using SPSS Version 21. The association between demographic profile and practice of scaling and polishing at 6 months’ interval was tested using the Chi‑square test at a significance level of P < 0.05.

Results: The study participants were 43 (58.9%) males and 30 (41.1%) females, and the age range was 23–56 years. All (100.0%) oral health professionals in the study had undertaken scaling and polishing previously. Many respondents (75.3%) scaled and polished routinely twice a year, while 90.6% recommended the procedure to their patients at six months’ interval to enable them monitor their patients’ oral hygiene (85.9%). Those aged 21–30 years (75.0%) (P < 0.001) and < 5 years in clinical practice (74.3%) (P = 0.01) undertook scaling and polishing at six months’ interval or less. Lack of time (34.5%) was the main reason that prevented oral health professionals from  undertaking scaling and polishing.

Conclusion: Dental therapists have had scaling and polishing done more than dentists and dental technologists within the last six months. Age and duration of clinical practice were significantly associated with obtaining scaling and polishing at 6 monthly intervals, whereas lack of time was a major reason for not undergoing six monthly scaling and polishing.

Keywords: Calculus, dental professionals, oral prophylaxis, plaque 


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2667-0526
print ISSN: 1115-2613