What’s A Deep Teeth Cleaning?
And Why Do I Need It?

So, you recently came in for a dental exam, and you were told that you need a deep teeth cleaning.

Why do you need it, and BTW what the heck is this “deep cleaning”?

Healthy Gums from deep teeth cleaningsA routine teeth cleaning focuses on maintaining the cleanliness of your teeth to prevent cavities and keep your gums disease free, a deep cleaning concentrates on scrubbing out bacteria deposits and built-up tartar that have already crept underneath the gums and into the roots of your teeth. Tartar is the hard by-product of plaque build up that adheres to your teeth. Plaque and tartar are the primary causes of gum disease.

So, Who Needs a Deep Cleaning?

A deep cleaning is usually recommended for people who haven’t been able to stay on top of their routine teeth cleanings. Because of missed teeth cleanings, patients wind up with build up tartar on their teeth, as well as within the roots of the teeth. A deep cleaning is also suggested for any patient who is at risk for gum disease, who may already have it, or who has other existing periodontal issues.

What’s the Big Deal About Gum Disease?

48 short hours. That’s all the time it takes for plaque to become tartar. As tartar adheres to your teeth, it can begin to creep underneath the gumline, leading to the inflammation of your gums, which cause symptoms such as redness, bleeding and sensitivity. If the inflammation is not effectively treated, the gums begin to pull away from the teeth, creating a spaces or “pockets” for more plaque and tartar to collect. Unlike the enamel that surrounds your teeth, the bone and tissue supporting your teeth have little protection and are susceptible to infection, damage and tooth loss. Besides damaging your oral health, the bacteria that forms from gum disease can also cause serious long-term health issues – heart disease or strokes, diabetes, cancer or even Alzheimer’s.

What Happens During Your Deep Cleaning?

It is “deep”, because it literally does go below the surface of an ordinary routine teeth cleaning. But official dental term for a deep cleaning is periodontal scaling and root planing. Here’s how it works.

Deep scaling is done beneath the gum line to remove tartar (through manual scraping) from the teeth using a dental scaler. It involves the use of an ultrasonic device to remove plaque from the teeth surface. This part of the cleaning is designed to remove significantly more plaque, bacteria, and tartar deposits from both the outer surfaces of teeth and their roots in the gumline.

Next up, is root planing, which is the repeated rubbing motion applied on the roots of the teeth to remove any rough spots that promote gum infections by trapping and harboring bacteria. This stage is vital to keeping your gums clean and healthy, while also promoting the reattachment of the gums to the teeth, and reducing the space between the teeth and gums too.

The goal of a deep cleaning is to treat gum disease, prevent it from worsening and hopefully eliminate needing any surgery or other extensive procedures down the road.

Depending on the extent of the deep cleaning and your comfort level, we may recommend numbing your gums with a local anesthetic or using nitrous oxide. Your deep cleaning procedure may be broken up into two visits to ensure proper treatment and attention to each affected area. Once your cleaning is completed, we’ll go over deep cleaning aftercare and provide you with any post-cleaning instructions.

What Happens after Your Deep Teeth Cleaning?

After a deep cleaning, most patients need to have follow-up routine cleanings about every three months, but this frequency varies depending on many factors.

Preventing + Stopping Gum Disease!

Keeping the plaque and tartar in your mouth in check, and your gums healthy isn’t an easy job. 85% of adults already have gum disease, or are at risk of getting it. The good news is that it can be prevented, treated, and maintained. Fortunately, staying on top of teeth cleanings is your best weapon to keep this stuff off your teeth and keep your gums healthy. Even if you’re a master of at-home oral hygiene your daily brushing and flossing can’t take off the tartar that forms to your teeth. But your friendly Burien dentist or hygienist can scrub it off!

You’d be surprised how quickly the health of your teeth can change for the better when you maintain regular dental visits. If you’re overdue for teeth cleaning, or it’s been a while since you’ve last visited a dentist, please reach out to schedule an appointment. Please call us at (206) 242-0066 or request an appointment online! We’ll do are best to keep your teeth healthy, and screen for gum disease. And should you be at risk, or already have gum disease, we’ll development a treatment plan to reduce it, or halt it altogether.

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