Understanding Deep Cleanings

If your dentist has suggested that you receive a deep cleaning, you may feel a bit perplexed about the recommendation. After all, if you have been receiving routine dental cleanings, shouldn't they suffice? Here is a bit of information about deep cleanings to help you better understand them.

What Happens During a Deep Dental Cleaning?

A deep dental cleaning could be considered an extended version of a regular cleaning. During the procedure, the dentist carefully removes tartar from the teeth, including the areas along the gum line and in the interdental spaces. However, tartar accumulations are also removed from the areas beneath the gums. The deep cleaning even extends to the dental roots. Thus, the procedure is sometimes referred to as a root planing and scaling treatment.

How Long Does a Deep Cleaning Take?

The time required for a deep cleaning varies based on the amount of tartar that needs to be cleared from the teeth. However, the cleaning process is often divided between several visits.

Why Is a Deep Cleaning Recommended?

A deep cleaning is typically performed to help treat periodontal disease. Periodontal disease, which is commonly called gum disease, begins as inflammation of the gingival tissues. 

After being regularly irritated by bacterial acids, the gums may redden, swell, and bleed. These symptoms indicate that gingivitis, an early form of gum disease, has developed. However, if gingivitis is not reversed, it can progress to a more severe form of periodontal disease called periodontitis.

The symptoms of periodontitis include the formation pockets between the gums and the teeth. These pockets harbor plaque that hardens into tartar. As the tartar builds up below the gum line, the gums become increasingly inflamed and may even become infected.

If periodontitis is not treated, the bacteria in the gum pockets may spread to the bone of the jaw, leading to a bone infection and tooth loss. 

The deep cleaning removes the tartar, plaque, and bacterial accumulations, allowing the gums to heal.

How Does the Dentist Know That You Need a Deep Cleaning?

Your dentist may see signs of periodontitis, such as gum pockets, as they inspect your mouth. However, to confirm their diagnosis, the dentist takes x-rays of mouth and checks the depth of the gingival pockets. If the gum pockets have a significant depth or signs of infection display on the x-rays, a deep cleaning may be prescribed.

To learn more about deep cleanings, schedule a consultation with a dentist in your local area.