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If your dentist has told you that you need a deep cleaning, you probably have a lot of questions.
But don’t worry, our experienced team is here to answer them all for you. Keep reading to learn everything that you need to know about deep cleanings!
Deep cleanings refer to the nonsurgical and popular periodontal disease treatments: scaling and root planing. Scaling and root planing help fight periodontal disease by mechanically removing all calculus and the bacteria that comes with it, from the patient’s teeth and root surfaces. While deep cleanings are typically done to treat periodontal disease, they are also used for patients who haven’t had a regular dental cleaning in a while and have moderate amounts of calculus (tartar) below their gum line.
Periodontal disease begins when plaque is left on the teeth and around the gum line. Over time, this plaque is mixed with saliva and calculus, which contains harmful bacteria, is created. Eventually, this calculus will attach to teeth and root surfaces. This then results in gums becoming irritated, inflamed, and infected. Once this occurs, the patient officially has periodontal disease. When left untreated, this gum infection can lead to serious consequences, including jaw bone loss, teeth movement, and loss of teeth.
Periodontal disease is diagnosed by taking necessary x-rays and detailed measurements of all gum tissues that surround teeth. Gum tissue measurements are necessary because when calculus and bacteria reside in the mouth, it causes the gum tissue to detach from the root surface, creating deep pockets. Pockets that are deeper than 3mm are an indication that periodontal disease is present and a deep cleaning is necessary.
It typically takes around one or two appointments to complete a deep cleaning. Deep cleanings are done by the dentist or dental hygienist using an ultrasonic scaler and/or hand instruments. Local anesthesia is also often used during deep cleanings to ensure maximum comfort both during and after the procedure.
Following deep cleanings, it is standard to keep periodontally involved patients on a maintenance program to ensure that the periodontal disease doesn’t return. While every case varies, these maintenance programs typically consist of more frequent cleanings and possibly periodic scaling and root planing. No matter what, a great proper daily dental hygiene routine is essential for all patients in order to achieve the best possible long-term results.
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