Maintaining proper dental hygiene (regular brushing and flossing) is not always enough to keep your oral cavity in good shape. That is why we advise you to visit our dentist at least once a year to have a general check-up and a regular cleaning. Unfortunately, more than 30 per cent of Americans do not visit their dentist on a regular basis resulting in increasing cases of different dental problems including gingivitis, and periodontitis.
So you already had your teeth cleaned and suddenly the dental hygienist tells you that you need to get a deep cleaning. You are like “what is that and why do I need it?” Read on to know what deep cleaning is, and when and why you need it.
Deep cleaning, also known as scaling and root planing, is a dental procedure that involves removing tartar and plaque from the pocket area between the gums and teeth, from the surface of the teeth, and even from the surface of the roots of the teeth. Apart from dental loupes, the dentists need to use either manual scaling tools or electric/ultrasonic instruments to carry out scaling and root planing.
The process usually requires around 20 minutes per quadrant of the mouth and it typically takes at least two visits for the dentist to completely treat all the afflicted areas. You will also be required to do a follow-up-visit to confirm that your gums and teeth are getting healthier and there is no pocket depth.
The main difference between regular cleaning and deep cleaning is the area of focus. In regular cleaning, your dentist will only focus on cleaning the areas at and above the gum line to disturb the colonies of bacteria and to polish your teeth. While, in deep cleaning, your dentist will get rid of the colonies of bacteria that thrive in your mouth and thoroughly clean not only the teeth and the gum line but also the surface of the roots of the teeth and the pocket area between the gums and teeth.
Apart from your dental practitioner’s recommendation, there are a few signs that tell you when deep cleaning is needed. These include but not limited to:
Deep cleaning is usually done to treat or prevent periodontitis and other gum and periodontal diseases. If you haven’t visited your dentist for a while, or haven’t had your teeth professionally checked or cleaned regularly, chances are, you will develop some gum and periodontal disease.
There are a plethora of bacteria that thrive in the mouth. When the bacteria mix with the other substances in your mouth, a sticky plaque will be formed on your teeth. Although most of the sticky plaque can be removed by regular brushing and flossing, those that can’t be removed will harden and become tartar which is the main cause of gingivitis or gum inflammation. Left unaddressed, simple gingivitis can progress to periodontitis. In order to avoid this from happening, your dentist will recommend deep cleaning.