If you have been told that you are in need of a deep cleaning, you may be wondering what it is, how it differs from a regular dental cleaning, and what you can expect during your treatment. Continue reading for a complete breakdown of deep cleanings to better understand your recommended treatment.
Periodontitis (Gum Disease)
In order to fully understand what a deep cleaning is and why it is needed, it is important to understand gum disease. Clinically known as periodontitis or periodontal disease, gum disease occurs when bacteria is allowed to accumulate below the gumline and cause damage and decay to the underlying tooth and bone structure. Periodontal disease (gum disease) occurs when gingivitis is left untreated. While gingivitis is reversible and can be treated, once it has progressed to gum disease, it unfortunately can no longer be reversed; it can simply be managed and prevented from progressing. If periodontal disease is left untreated, the patient faces bone and gum loss, as well as the possibility of eventually losing their teeth all-together as a result of the loss of bone structure that supports the teeth. Symptoms of periodontal disease include:
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Pain in gums
- Bleeding in gums (even when untouched)
- Looseness of teeth
- Deep pockets between tooth and gum
- Large amounts of tartar buildup
- Gum recession
Causes of periodontal disease include:
- Poor at-home dental care
- Failure to return for regular cleaning and check-up appointments
- Genetic predispositions
- Prescription medications
Scaling And Root Planing (Deep Cleaning) Treatment
In order to combat the progression of periodontal (gum) disease, your dentist and dental hygienist will recommend that you have a scaling and root planing (deep cleaning) done rather than a regular cleaning, which is known clinically as a prophylaxis cleaning. During a scaling and root planing, the hygienist will completely remove all signs of tartar and plaque, which are hardened bacteria buildup in the mouth. They will then go beneath the gumline and clean as well. This portion of the cleaning may prove to cause discomfort for the patient, so the patient will always have the option of opting in for local anesthesia prior to beginning their cleaning. In some cases, the patient will be numbed for their cleaning, no matter what. After all of the plaque and tartar has been removed, the hygienist will irrigate the entirety of the mouth and place an antibiotic solution beneath the gums to halt and prevent the growth of bacteria.
You will then be asked to return every three months for a maintenance appointment rather than every six months, as is common with regular cleanings. During this maintenance appointment, your dental hygienist will take measurements of the pockets between the gum and the tooth to ensure that the treatment has been successful. If necessary, they will proceed deeper below the gumline to remove any plaque or calculus wherever needed. This has proven to be the best way to maintain periodontal disease and to prevent it from progressing, and this preventative and cautious method has saved the oral health of countless individuals.
Your home care is just as-if not more- important than your in-office dental treatment. In order to maintain a healthy smile, it is crucial to practice proper home care. This includes the following:
- Regular brushing (At least two times a day/after each meal when possible recommended)
- Regular flossing (Consider investing in a water pick)
- Quitting smoking/chewing tobacco
- Implement a healthy diet
- If you have diabetes, ensure that it is under control
Proper home care has the potential to make a world of difference in preventing your periodontal disease from worsening.
While periodontal disease may at first sound frightening, with the help of your trusted dentist and dental hygienist at EZ Dental, you will be able to properly manage your dental health and ensure that you will be able to enjoy the healthiest, happiest smile possible for as long as you can. C