Gums,  Procedures

Deep Cleaning of Teeth – vs Regular Cleaning, Cost, Alternatives, Procedure

Key Facts

  • Deep cleaning is technically known as scaling and root planing
  • It is a procedure to treat gum disease by removing plaque and tartar from below the gumline
  • It helps to prevent progression of periodontal diseases
  • The treatment may require more than one visit and sometimes followed by a maintenance plan
  • Proper oral hygiene practices are crucial after the procedure

What is Deep Cleaning?

Deep cleaning is a dental procedure aimed at treating gum diseases, particularly periodontitis. Unlike regular cleaning, which cleans the surface of the teeth and the areas slightly below the gumline, deep cleaning goes further below the gumline to remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria.

This procedure consists of two main components:

  • Scaling: This involves scraping off the tartar and plaque from the tooth surface and from the pocket area between the teeth and gums.
  • Root Planing: This part of the procedure involves smoothing out the roots of the teeth to help the gums reattach to the teeth.

Deep cleaning is considered a therapeutic procedure as it treats gum disease rather than being purely preventative.

When Is Deep Cleaning Necessary?

Deep cleaning becomes necessary when there are signs of gum disease due to the buildup of plaque and tartar below the gumline. Here are some cases when it becomes essential:

  • Deep Pockets: When the pockets between your teeth and gums are too deep, indicating the presence of gum disease
  • Bleeding Gums: Gums that bleed easily when you brush or floss
  • Gum Recession: When gums have receded away from the base of the teeth
  • Chronic Bad Breath: Persistent bad breath despite regular brushing and flossing
  • Loose Teeth: Teeth that have become loose due to gum disease

How Does Deep Cleaning Work?

Deep cleaning is typically performed by a dental hygienist or a dentist. The steps involved in the deep cleaning process are as follows:

  • Local Anesthesia: Since deep cleaning involves cleaning below the gum line, a local anesthetic may be applied to numb the area.
  • Scaling: Using special dental instruments, ultrasonic scaling devices, or lasers, the dental professional will remove plaque and tartar from the surface of the teeth and from the pocket area between the teeth and gums.
  • Root Planing: After scaling, the roots of the teeth are planed or smoothed. This process helps the gums to reattach to the teeth.
  • Antibiotics/Antimicrobials: In some cases, antibiotics or antimicrobial agents may be applied to reduce bacteria and help in healing.
  • Evaluation: After the procedure, the dentist will evaluate the success of the deep cleaning and determine if further treatment is necessary.

Oral Care After Deep Cleaning

Proper aftercare is essential for the healing process and to prevent the recurrence of gum disease. Here are some tips for oral care after deep cleaning:

  • Gentle Brushing and Flossing: Brush gently with a soft-bristle toothbrush and floss with care to avoid irritating the gums.
  • Rinse with Saltwater: Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water a few times a day can help in reducing inflammation.
  • Avoid Tobacco and Limit Alcohol: Tobacco can interfere with the healing process, and alcohol can irritate the gums.
  • Eat Soft Foods: Stick to a diet of soft foods for a few days after the procedure and avoid anything too hot or cold.
  • Follow Dentist’s Instructions: Your dentist may prescribe medication or special mouthwash; make sure to follow their instructions closely.
  • Keep Follow-up Appointments: Attend any scheduled follow-up appointments to ensure your mouth is healing properly.

Bottom line

In conclusion, deep cleaning is an effective treatment for gum disease that can help to restore oral health. It’s essential to maintain proper oral hygiene and keep regular dental check-ups to prevent gum diseases from developing or reoccurring.

This article is complete and was published on June 26, 2023, and last updated on August 26, 2023.

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