Tartar, bacteria, and debris can naturally collect on your teeth and under your gum line. If they aren’t removed, they can eventually cause gingivitis, tooth and bone decay, or tooth loss. To make matters worse, simple brushing and flossing at home aren’t enough to combat this buildup. A professional periodontal deep cleaning is needed to remove deposits and keep teeth and gums healthy.
How do tartar and bacteria build up on my teeth?
Plaque forms constantly on our teeth. It is a sticky film composed of sugars and bacteria that is fed by our saliva and the foods we eat. Tartar, otherwise known as calculus, is simply hardened plaque. It forms when plaque isn’t removed and is allowed to pile up on your teeth. It doesn’t just develop where you can see it, though, tartar also creeps down below the gum line – where regular flossing and brushing can’t fight it. Once tartar has formed, it encourages the buildup of even more plaque because it has a rougher surface than your regular tooth enamel.
Why do I need a deep cleaning?
As plaque and tartar get below your gum line, your immune system will try to fight them by releasing substances that inadvertently cause your gums to swell and recede, detaching from your teeth. When this happens, pockets are formed between your teeth and your gums. These pockets allow even more bacteria, plaque, and tartar to collect.
Gingivitis (otherwise known as gum disease) is the first stage of periodontal disease. Gingivitis occurs when the bacteria in your mouth irritate and infect your gums, making them red, tender, and swollen. If left untreated, the infection can expand to other parts of the mouth – like the periodontal ligament, the cementum that covers the root of your tooth, and even the alveolar bone. Eventually, periodontal disease can destroy the structures that hold your teeth to your jawbone, making teeth so loose that they either fall out or must be extracted.
During a routine dental check-up, your dental hygienist will measure the sizes of the pockets by your teeth to detect signs of early periodontal disease – or gum disease. If pockets are deeper than 4-5mm, your dentist will recommend that you get a deep cleaning, otherwise known as scaling and root planing, to combat the issue.
What is the difference between a regular cleaning and deep cleaning?
During a regular cleaning, your dental hygienist will clear away plaque, calculus, and any debris at or above your gum line.
For a periodontal deep cleaning, your dentist will numb you with a local anesthetic. All the plaque, calculus, and debris from below your gum line will be removed, and the roots of any infected teeth will be smoothed and planed to eliminate bacteria. An antibiotic may also be prescribed to help your body fight the infection.
Deep cleanings are typically performed during two office visits, two to three weeks apart. One side of your mouth will be completed at the first appointment, followed by the other side on your second one.
What are the benefits of periodontal deep cleaning?
Deep cleaning stops periodontal disease in its tracks. By removing the tartar and plaque from below your gums, your gums can heal and return to their normal position beside your teeth.
While some patients may be predisposed to periodontal disease and may need routine deep cleanings, most patients only require them on an as-needed basis.
How can I avoid deep cleanings?
It is estimated that 85-percent of the population has some form of gum disease. It can be caused by:
- Poor diet
- Clenching or grinding your teeth
- Chewing tobacco or smoking
- Inadequate oral hygiene
The best thing you can do to avoid periodontal disease is to prevent plaque from accumulating.
- Thoroughly brush your teeth twice a day, making sure to clean every surface on your teeth.
- Floss at least once a day to get the plaque that has collected between your teeth or under your gum line.
- Avoid starchy, sugary foods – especially sticky ones.
- Get regular dental cleanings and exams to professionally maintain your teeth.
Gum disease isn’t always something you can prevent at home. Hormones, medications, and certain diseases can make it easier to get – and harder to get rid of.
If your dentist or dental hygienist believes that you have early signs of periodontal disease, you should undergo a periodontal deep cleaning to remove all the tartar, plaque, and bacteria from below your gum line. A deep cleaning will prevent further infection and help your teeth and gums heal.
If you think you might be a candidate for a deep cleaning, contact us today for a consultation. Our team of highly-trained experts can help you with state-of-the-art technology and a customized treatment plan. Smile! It’s good for you.