What is a “Deep Cleaning”?

Have you ever been told by your family dentist that you need a “deep cleaning?”

While the majority of dental cleanings are preventative in nature, not all of them are. In this case, scaling and root planing procedures—also referred to as deep cleanings—is a more intensive type of dental cleaning for people with active periodontal disease.

What’s the Difference?

If your teeth and gums are healthy, you brush and floss regularly, and you tend to see your dentist every six months, you probably only need a preventative cleaning or “prophy”. But if you don’t floss regularly, haven’t seen a dentist in ages, or have extensive tartar buildup, you likely have “pockets” under your gums.

Why Do I Need a Deep Cleaning?

Developing pockets under your gums cause bacteria to accumulate across the roots of your teeth. These areas of infection also trigger gum detachment and bone loss, leading to deeper and more extensive pocketing throughout your mouth.

Since prevention-based cleanings are for maintenance purposes and removing mild buildup, they are not adequate for cleaning deep areas of infection throughout your mouth.

Deep cleanings are prescribed when someone has active gum infection, bleeding, heavy pocketing, or tartar accumulation inside of deep pockets.

While it’s normal to have a small amount of tartar cleaned off during “routine” dental cleanings, people who need deep cleanings require more time and specialized equipment to clean the roots of their teeth.

Without a deep cleaning, periodontal disease will only continue to worsen. In the long run, both your smile and overall health are affected.

What Happens During a Deep Cleaning?

Your deep cleaning appointment will be adjusted to your unique smile. Typically, most people have half of their mouth cleaned at a time. During the visit, we will numb that side of your mouth. After a few minutes, you won’t be able to feel much of anything besides a little pressure. At that point, we use special instruments to remove the calcified buildup and soft plaque out of the pockets around your teeth and against the surfaces of your roots.

Once all of the teeth in those areas are clean, we provide you with specific home care instructions. You’ll return a short time later to complete the cleaning on the other side of your mouth, repeating the above-mentioned process.

Will I Need Other Treatment?

Depending on the severity of your periodontal disease, adjunctive services may need to be combined with your deep cleaning. Such as laser pocket reduction, locally placed antibiotics, prescription mouth rinse, or pocket reduction surgery, just to name a few.

Don’t Delay Periodontal Care

Gum disease can often progress into extensive areas of infection without people realizing it. Your smile, immune system, and overall wellness are directly related to active disease inside of your mouth.

If you’ve been told that you have gum disease or need deep cleaning, call our periodontal specialist in The Woodlands today. We’ll do everything possible to help you save your smile.

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