Over 47% of adults aged 30 years and older and 70% of adults 65 years and older have some form of periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a serious infection of the gums that can damage the soft tissue. If left untreated, gum disease can progress from gum inflammation (gingivitis) to periodontitis, which can cause significant damage to the gums and underlying bone, leading to tooth loss.
With gum disease being incredibly prevalent in adults over 30 years old, it’s important to understand an essential treatment to fight it: dental deep cleaning. In this blog, we explain what is involved in a deep cleaning at the dentist. You’ll also learn the advantages and disadvantages of deep cleaning teeth if your dentist deems it necessary.
What Is Involved In a Deep Cleaning At the Dentist?
Dental deep cleaning, often referred to as scaling and root planing, is a thorough teeth cleaning procedure that treats and prevents the progression of gum disease.
Deep cleaning teeth removes plaque and tartar buildup, improving gum health. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth. It can be removed by daily brushing, flossing, and routine dental cleanings. If it’s not removed, plaque hardens into tartar, which can lead to cavities and gum disease. Signs of gum disease include:
- Bleeding gums
- Red, swollen, or tender gums
- Receding gums
- Consistently bad breath
- Loose or shifting teeth
A deep teeth cleaning is an advanced procedure that goes beyond your regular dental check-up. This type of cleaning addresses the areas beneath the gum line to clear away plaque, tartar, and bacteria buildup that regular brushing, flossing, and standard professional cleanings can’t reach.
Let’s break down what’s involved in this essential dental care procedure that helps restore your oral health.
Step 1: Examination and Diagnosis
Your dentist or dental hygienist will conduct a comprehensive examination of your mouth, possibly including X-rays, to determine whether you need a deep cleaning teeth procedure. One tell-tale sign of gum disease is deep “pockets,” which your dentist will measure during your exam. When your gums are unhealthy, they might start to pull away from your teeth, creating little spaces called pockets. If the spaces are deeper than they should be, it’s likely time to schedule an appointment for a dental deep cleaning.
This is a great time to ask, “What is involved in a deep cleaning at the dentist?”
Step 2: Scaling
The first part of the deep cleaning dental procedure is called scaling. During scaling, a dental professional uses special tools to carefully clear away plaque and tartar from the tooth surfaces and from under the gums. These tools might include an ultrasonic scaler, which uses vibrations to break up and remove plaque and tartar, while water flushes them away. A manual dental scaler may also be used to remove any remaining deposits of tartar and smooth the tooth surface.
Step 3: Root Planing
Root planing dives even deeper into the gumline, removing plaque and tartar that forms on the roots of your teeth. When the roots are smooth, it’s harder for plaque and tartar to stick to them, and it can help your gums reattach to your teeth. Root planing helps to heal the gum tissue and reduce the depth of the gum pockets, making it easier to keep the teeth and gums clean and healthy moving forward.
Together, scaling and root planing address the underlying cause of gum disease by cleaning deep below the gum line and creating a healthier environment for gum tissue to heal and reattach to the teeth.
Step 4: Aftercare and Follow-Up
The total number of deep cleaning dental appointments you need depends on the severity of your condition and your dentist’s professional recommendation and process. Some dentists treat each mouth quadrant separately, while others treat one side of the mouth (top and bottom teeth) in one visit.
After a dental deep cleaning appointment, your dentist will provide detailed instructions on how to care for your teeth and gums at home to support the healing process. It’s normal to experience some sensitivity and tenderness after the procedure.
Is Deep Cleaning Necessary?
Dental deep cleanings aren’t necessary for everyone. If you have good oral health, there’s no need to undergo such an invasive treatment. However, it’s important to consult with your dentist who can evaluate your oral health and determine whether a deep cleaning teeth procedure is required. If it is, here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of deep cleaning teeth.
Advantages of Deep Cleaning Teeth
- Prevents Gum Disease Progression: One of the primary benefits of deep teeth cleaning is stopping the progression of gum disease. By removing plaque and tartar buildup from below the gum line and smoothing the roots of the teeth, this procedure reduces the risk of further infection and inflammation.
- Reduces Gum Inflammation and Bleeding: Dental deep cleaning effectively reduces gum inflammation and bleeding, common symptoms of gum disease. By eliminating the bacteria and buildup causing these issues, patients can experience significant relief and improvement in gum health.
- Prevents Tooth Loss: Deep cleaning teeth can address the underlying cause of gum disease and prevent the condition from advancing to the point of causing tooth loss. Preserving your natural teeth is crucial for maintaining good oral health and overall well-being.
- Improves Bad Breath: Gum disease is a common cause of persistent bad breath (halitosis). Deep cleaning removes the bacteria responsible for bad breath, leading to a cleaner mouth and more confidence in social situations.
- Enhances Overall Health: Research suggests a link between gum disease and other health issues, such as heart disease. By keeping your gums healthy through procedures like deep cleaning, you might also be protecting your overall health.
Disadvantages of Deep Cleaning Teeth
- Discomfort During and After the Procedure: Patients may experience some discomfort during and after a deep cleaning teeth procedure, especially if their gums are already sensitive or inflamed. However, dentists often use local anesthesia to minimize pain during the treatment.
- Temporary Sensitivity: After a deep cleaning, it’s common for the teeth and gums to be more sensitive than usual. This sensitivity typically subsides within a few weeks, but it can be inconvenient and uncomfortable in the meantime.
- Cost: Dental deep cleanings are more expensive than regular dental cleanings due to the specialized care and time required. While many insurance plans cover some or all of the deep cleaning costs, it’s important to check with your provider before scheduling an appointment.
- Multiple Visits May Be Required: Depending on the extent of the gum disease, more than one deep cleaning session may be necessary to fully address the issue. This can increase the overall time and cost commitment.
- Risk of Infection: As with any dental procedure, there’s a risk of infection following a deep cleaning. Dentists take precautions to minimize this risk, such as injecting an antibiotic medication directly into the gum pockets to prevent infection.
While there are some disadvantages of deep cleaning teeth, the advantages undoubtedly outweigh them.
It’s important to note that if your hygienist or dentist determines that you need a deep cleaning, you can’t opt for a standard cleaning. At this stage, a deep cleaning becomes essential for your oral health, rather than just a suggestion. To continue receiving care at that dental office, you must follow the dentist’s prescribed treatment plan, which includes undergoing a deep cleaning.
Deep Cleaning Services Near Me In Richmond, VA
Now that you know what is involved in a deep cleaning at the dentist, where can you go to learn whether you need one?
If you live in the Richmond, VA area and are searching for a “deep cleaning service near me,” contact Northside Dental Co. We don’t just treat dental issues; we work to prevent them and enhance your quality of life through comprehensive oral care. Whether you’re experiencing signs of gum disease or looking to maintain optimal oral health with standard teeth cleanings, our team is ready to provide you with exceptional care and support.
Schedule an appointment today to take the first step towards a healthier, longer-lasting smile.