Do You Really Need Deep Teeth Cleanings?

Almost half of adults over thirty in the United States have gum disease. This number increases with age and affects more than seven out of ten adults after age sixty-five. Dental decay and gum disease can lead to extensive dental treatment that may include loss of teeth for advanced or untreated cases. Deep teeth cleaning is one of the treatments that can help save teeth and prevent further gum disease. 

Preventing gum disease is critical to oral and general health. Schedule an appointment at Trident Dental for a comprehensive oral evaluation and professional teeth cleaning.

What Is a Deep Cleaning?

A deep cleaning is performed by a dentist or dental hygienist in two stages and typically requires at least two appointments to complete. A deep cleaning differs from a routine cleaning because it cleans above and below the gum line to remove dental plaque and calculus, also called tartar. The purpose of a regular cleaning is to maintain your healthy gums and prevent disease. However, deep cleanings are performed to stop gum disease from further progression.

The two stages of a deep cleaning are:

  • Scaling. While you can remove plaque at home with brushing and flossing, dental tartar requires removal by a dental professional. Scaling uses specialized dental instruments to remove this hardened material that is firmly attached to your teeth. A regular cleaning accomplishes this above the gum line, but deep scaling cleans plaque and calculus in periodontal pockets below the gum.

  • Root planing. Root planing focuses on cleaning the root surfaces below the gum. Calculus and plaque are removed with special hand and ultrasonic dental instruments. Because periodontal disease causes a roughening of the smooth root surfaces, your dentist will plane or smooth them to help your gums reattach to the roots and eliminate the periodontal pockets.

Does a Deep Cleaning Hurt?

A thorough deep cleaning requires that your dental professional remove plaque and tartar deep beneath the gum line. This can irritate your already inflamed and infected gums and cause discomfort. Additionally, since your roots are not protected by enamel, cleaning their surfaces can cause mild to moderate sensitivity. To make your deep cleaning more comfortable, your dentist may administer a local dental anesthetic to numb your teeth and gums. You might, however, experience some discomfort once this numbness wears off. You can usually alleviate any soreness with over-the-counter pain medications such as Tylenol or an NSAID.

Signs of Gum Disease

Gum disease begins with mild inflammation known as gingivitis that includes bleeding gums, redness, and tenderness. You can eliminate these symptoms with improved brushing, flossing, and a routine professional teeth cleaning. 

A more advanced gum disease that requires a deep cleaning is periodontitis. You cannot prevent this disease from progressing and causing further damage without professional treatment that includes scaling and root planing. The signs of periodontitis include:

  • Persistent bad breath or taste that won’t resolve.

  • Swollen gums.

  • Red or bleeding gums.

  • Tender or painful gums.

  • Pain when chewing.

  • Sensitive teeth.

  • Loose teeth.

  • Change in your bite.

  • Receding gums.

  • Pus draining between your teeth and gums.

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Early detection and treatment of gum inflammation can help you avoid tooth loss and maintain a bright smile and optimal oral health.

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