Gum disease is one of the most common types of dental diseases. According to experienced providers of preventative dentistry services, the following are all habits that are crucial in preventing gum disease:
- Regular brushing
- Regular flossing
- Following a well-balanced daily diet
But once you have been diagnosed to have gum disease, simple brushing and flossing will not be enough to help your teeth and gums recover. Standard dental cleanings will not work, either.
In such instances, your dentist will recommend that you undergo regular dental deep cleaning.
What Is Dental Deep Cleaning?
Deep dental cleaning, also known as soft tissue management or periodontal therapy, is a special dental cleaning procedure for thoroughly cleaning your gums and teeth. Your dentist will use special tools to remove calcified plaque, tartar and bacteria buildup.
The dentist will advise you to undergo this dental procedure if you have not received standard cleaning for a long time and the plaque buildup cannot be removed by typical cleaning. If you have been diagnosed to have gum disease, your dentist will instruct you to undergo deep cleaning regularly. This will assist in preventing further tooth decay and the worsening of your periodontal disease.
There are two types of deep teeth cleaning methods: scaling and planing.
Scaling pertains to the process of removing plaque, tartar, bacteria and blemishes from the surface of the tooth above the gum line and below the root. Scaling can be done mechanically and chemically.
A dentist uses special dental tools called an ultrasonic scaling tool and hand scalers for mechanical scaling.
Chemical scaling, on the other hand, calls for the use of chemical fluids, such as an anti-tartar solution, which helps in removing deposits from the surface of a tooth.
Mechanical scaling is often a more preferred method since it is more efficient than chemical cleaning.
Planing is a deeper, more thorough method of cleaning. Specialized tools such as root scalers and curettes will be used to remove infected cementum and surface dentin full of unwanted microorganisms and tartar. This procedure makes the root of the tooth smooth, which will then promote healing and prevent bacteria from developing on the tooth again.
For this type of cleaning, localized anesthesia will be administered to help keep the patient from feeling any pain and discomfort.
How Will You Know If You Need Deep Cleaning?
Your dentist will tell you if you have gum disease, if the gum pockets around your teeth have already deepened, and if there are already tartar and calculus deposits under your gum line. In such instances, you will need to undergo periodontal therapy.
The dentist will do this through the following ways:
- Dental X-ray – Your dentist will take dental X-rays of your mouth. Most of the time, plaque and calculus will show up on X-rays. Tartar often appears like a small triangular ledge which sits in between two adjacent teeth.
- Gum exam – Your dentist will inspect your gums closely and determine how healthy your gums are with the use of a periodontal probe. Your dental practitioner will use the gum or periodontal pocket chart to assess the condition of your gums and what kind of dental cleaning you need.
- Simple examination – In severe cases, you and your dentist will immediately see the tartar and calculus buildup. They appear as dark brown or blackish blemishes or stains found along your gum lines.
What Can Deep Dental Cleaning Do for You?
One of the benefits of deep dental cleaning is that this procedure results in healthier gums and stronger jawbones. Through scaling and planing, harmful buildups are removed, thereby eliminating bacteria which are slowly damaging and destroying your gums and jawbone.
After the procedure, your gums and bone structure will gradually heal back to a healthy state. You will also notice less bleeding, and your gums will become firmer and healthier over time.
Deep dental cleaning is the only technique that can effectively remove tartar. Brushing, flossing and even standard dental cleaning will not get rid of them. If you fail to eliminate tartar immediately, bacteria will continue to live and multiply on your teeth. This will cause gum disease, tooth sensitivity, loosening of your teeth and even tooth loss.
What Can You Expect From This Dental Treatment?
Periodontal therapy typically takes one to four sessions. This will depend on the amount of tartar buildup, your pain threshold and your dentist’s methods. The dentist will continue to see you and clean your teeth to thoroughly remove the tartar buildup.
Once the therapy is completed, the initial healing stage can take one to six months, depending on the seriousness of your gum condition. If your gums do not seem to be healing, your dentist may prescribe other solutions such as antibiotics, a special mouthwash and laser or surgical therapies to bring your gums and bones back to a healthy state.
You will need to see your dentist frequently so that they can monitor the condition of your gums. You may also have to undergo the procedure again so that you can maintain healthy gums, jaw bones and teeth.
Dr. Yvette Porter is the founding dentist at Apple Dental in Newstead, Brisbane, which she started over 11 years ago, and continues to own and practice there today. She works with a team of female dentists who aim to provide gentle, and affordable dental care to patients in Brisbane. Dr. Porter is a member of the Australian Dental Association and is passionate about family, and children’s dentistry, hoping to make their dental experience truly pleasant.