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What is a deep cleaning?

What is a deep teeth cleaning?

A dental deep cleaning, is a process in which your dentist or hygienist cleans between the teeth and underneath the gums. Much like in a regular basic cleaning, your dentist or hygienist will clean the tooth, gum line and sides of the teeth. However in a deep teeth cleaning, they continue to remove tartar buildup down below the gum line to the root of the tooth. This treatment can also be referred to as a “scaling and root planing” and may require more than one visit in order to complete. It is more extensive than a basic cleaning and is designed to treat gum disease and prevent gum disease from developing further.

What’s the difference between a deep teeth cleaning and a regular teeth cleaning?

Our mouths are full of bacteria and plaque, which is why brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing in the evenings is recommended. Visiting your dentist every six months for a dental exam and cleaning help to remove the plaque that builds up on your teeth each and every day as the instruments used by your dentist can clean more dilliently than a regular toothbrush. 

If a regular tooth brushing habit isn’t followed, or if you have a genetic predisposition to gum disease, your gums may show signs of gingivitis which is red, swollen gums that bleed easily when touched. If gingivitis is not treated, it turns into periodontal disease which is the infection of underlying bone. Teeth are held in place by bone, as periodontal disease develops, one starts to lose bone. Unfortunately done does not grow back so if you lose too much bone, your teeth become loose over time and you can lose your teeth.

X-rays are taken and the distance between your gums and teeth are measured to determine if periodontal disease is present. When there is evidence of this infection, the need for gum therapy is required with the goal to prevent periodontal disease from progressing. 

The goal of a regular cleaning is maintenance of a healthy mouth and to prevent gum disease. The goal of a deep teeth cleaning is to stop the progression of an already existing infection present in periodontal disease.

Do I really need a deep teeth cleaning?

When you go for a dental evaluation, your dentist or hygienist will measure the depth of your gingival pockets, if they are more than 4mm then you are a candidate for a deep cleaning or gum therapy. The goal of the therapy is to prevent the progression of bone loss. Without treatment, periodontal disease will continue to worsen.

If you are told you need a deep teeth cleaning, you’re not alone. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, nearly half of adult Americans suffer from gum disease. Research has shown a direct correlation between the progression of gum disease and the development of more serious illnesses including heart disease, diabetes and dementia. Bottom line, if your dentist or hygienist says you need a deep teeth cleaning, you owe it to your overall health to take care of it.


For more information on deep cleanings click here 

Evelyn Shine Dentist

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