You have most likely heard the term "deep dental cleaning". But what does it really mean? Is there a difference between a deep dental cleaning and a routine appointment with your hygienist? Also known as scaling and root planing, a deep dental cleaning is indeed different. Here, we will explore those variances and discuss when this type of treatment is appropriate. |
Regular Dental Cleaning vs Deep Dental Cleaning
A regular dental cleaning, or prophylaxis, is typically performed every three to six months by the hygienist at your family dental practice. This involves removing plaque and tartar from the surfaces of the teeth, polishing the enamel to remove stains, and checking for any potential oral health problems. A deep dental cleaning requires local anesthesia to numb the tissue so that the clinician can clean deeper into the gums.
When is a Deep Cleaning Necessary?
So, how do you know if you need a deep cleaning? Simply stated, this treatment is typically recommended to treat the early stages of gum disease. During a consultation with your doctor, he or she will measure the pockets around each tooth with a specialized dental instrument called a periodontal probe. This instrument has tiny marks which tell the dentist how many millimeters of bone loss is present. Ideally, pockets will measure between one and three millimeters. A four-millimeter pocket indicates gingivitis, while any pocket measuring a five or higher signifies periodontal disease. A deep dental cleaning is effective for treating mild to moderate gum disease. Depending on the depths of your periodontal pockets, your dentist will make a treatment recommendation.
The Treatment Process
If a deep dental cleaning is recommended, the clinician will first administer local anesthesia to keep you comfortable throughout the process. Next, the bacteria, tartar, and plaque deposits will be removed from the teeth. The infection that has seeped below the gums will be swept away using hand instruments and ultrasonic scalers. Finally, the root surfaces will then be smoothed to discourage further irritants and debris from reattaching. Recovery after a Deep Dental Cleaning Although most patients experience little to no discomfort after a dental deep cleaning, a few weeks of healing are required. It is not uncommon to experience slight sensitivity after your procedure. However, it is important to adopt a thorough brushing and flossing regimen as soon as possible to maintain the results of treatment.
Maintaining Your Progress
When the recovery period is over, your dentist will assess your progress and re-measure the pocket depths around each tooth. The deep dental cleaning should eliminate infection, making the gums less inflamed. If this has occurred, the pockets will be reduced. If your dentist is satisfied with your progress, he or she will discuss a periodontal maintenance schedule with you. This will involve receiving routine dental cleanings every few months to preserve the progress that was achieved through treatment. The frequency of your visits will depend on your unique needs. However, most patients see their hygienist once every three to six months.
What if I Have Severe Periodontal Disease?
Deep dental cleanings do have their limits. For example, if you have advanced periodontitis, even the clinician will not be able to reach far enough into the gum line. Therefore, gum surgery is typically required to treat patients with advanced cases of periodontal disease.
Learn More about Deep Dental Cleanings
If you are experiencing symptoms of gum disease, such as red, swollen, tender gums, schedule a consultation with your dentist right away. To learn more about periodontal treatments, including scaling and root planing, reach out to our team at Metropolitan Dental Care in Denver and Lone Tree, CO. Contact us online or call us at 303-534-2626.
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