Deep cleaning your teeth sounds like something you should do after you’ve missed a few visits to the dentist. It is actually a specific procedure performed by your dental hygienist to treat gum and periodontal disease.
When is a deep cleaning required?
Everyone experiences some form of plaque buildup, but a deep clean is not necessary for everyone. Deep cleanings are recommended for the following circumstances:
- Deep Pockets: If you have more than 4 mm between the tooth and gums.
- Not kept up professional cleanings: I you have not kept up a dental regime of regular professional cleaning appointments twice per year.
The differences between a deep cleaning and a regular teeth cleaning?
A regular cleaning is designed for the maintenance of healthy gums. Healthy gums have small, shallow spaces between the teeth and gums. Regular cleanings are recommended for patients who have generally good oral health and do not suffer from bone loss, bleeding gums, gum recession, or infection.
A deep cleaning is necessary when you notice your gums bleed when you floss. This means your gums are already irritated and that the pockets are probably deeper than 3 mm. If you notice these symptoms, see your dentist as you may have inflammation or gingivitis. If mild gum disease is left untreated it can lead to more severe ailments like periodontitis and other health issues.
What does a deep clean entail?
- Scaling: Scaling involves removing plaque and tartar from the surface of the teeth and from the pocket area between the teeth and gums
- Root planing: Your hygienist will use a scaling instrument to remove plaque and tartar from the surface of the roots of your teeth.
What happens if you don’t get a dental deep cleaning?
If you are noticing sensitivity, bleeding gums or inflammation, it’s crucial that you find a dentist in your area to check your gums and do a thorough examination before things get worse. Your dentist will only recommend a deep cleaning if the space between your tooth and gum (called a pocket) is more than four millimeters deep. An infected tooth is not only a risk to your smile; oral infections can lead to abscesses, heart disease, or much worse.
Treatment and after care:
Once the plaque and food particles are cleaned out, your gums will begin to heal themselves and re-form the tight seal around your teeth. This takes six to eight weeks. If you are a candidate that requires a deep cleaning, find out how to maintain healthy gums after your procedure. Bone loss from periodontitis is irreversible making it easier for plaque to creep back under your gums and cause more inflammation.
If you want to learn more about periodontal disease or are trying to determine if you need root planing or scaling, please visit any of our locations to speak to our dental professionals.