Deep cleaning for healthy teeth
Dentists recommend a regular cleaning and check-up every six months. However, not everyone follows these directions – some people go for years without going to the dentist! Without regular cleaning, medical expertise and monitoring, it’s easy for plaque and bacteria to build up in the gums. When bacteria in the gums begins to affect the bone underneath—also known as periodontal disease—a deep cleaning may be required.
What is deep cleaning?
Deep cleaning of teeth refers to two processes called scaling and rooting. Scaling occurs when a dentist removes plaque, tartar and biofilm off the surface of the tooth with an ultrasonic scaler—an electric version of the hooked shaped scraper that vibrates at a high frequency. These ultrasonic instruments are also responsible for creating air bubbles, and since bacteria is anaerobic—meaning they can’t live in the presence of oxygen—this process also kills bacteria.
Rooting or root planning involves breaching the gum line to scale the root tissue. As imagined, these processes can cause some discomfort in many people, and local anesthesia is recommended.
Deep cleaning may only be required for certain, isolated teeth. However, if the entire mouth is affected by disease, scaling and rooting will occur in quadrants. (we do it all in one visit)For this reason, preventative steps to ensure healthy teeth are the best trick to avoid a necessary deep cleaning of teeth. If the periodontal disease is advanced, further surgery may be required.
What are the signs that I need deep cleaning?
The area between the gum and tooth is called a pocket. When bacteria known as plaque isn’t removed regularly, it hardens into tarter. Eventually, toxins will continue to form on tarter and cause inflammation of the gums. This swelling will increase the size of the pocket between the tooth and the gums. When the pockets are more than four millimeters deep—revealed by x-ray and / or a manual check —a dentist will recommend scaling and rooting.
Because the early stages of gum disease are painless and unnoticeable, a dentist will be the first to diagnose gum disease. Advanced symptoms of periodontal disease are inflamed gums and bleeding while flossing or brushing your teeth.
During the most advanced stages of gingivitis, the entire gum and support structure can fail. Teeth may even fall out. The effects of this stage are irreversible and often require cosmetic surgery to restore a smile.
Care after a deep cleaning
After scaling and rooting, your gums will feel sensitive for about the next three days. You will probably notice heightened sensitivity to cold and hot foods or liquids. Toothpaste meant for sensitive teeth (like Sensodyne, for example) is a good way to remedy the discomfort.
Following the procedure, dentists recommend rinsing with warm salt water, three times a day, for the next week. This will aid healing and reduce inflammation. Also, if you are a smoker, it’s best to not smoke for 72 hours afterwards. Smoke delays healing and increases chance of complications.
Schedule an Appointment at Enchanting Dentistry Today
The best way to avoid needing a deep cleaning is to care for your teeth and gums regularly. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Middelhof today at her Plantation dentist office to have an exam done. You can call us at 94-DENTIST (336-8478).