Deep dental cleanings, also called root planing or periodontal scaling, are ways that your dentist or hygienist will clean the area where your tooth roots meet your gums, as well as the area below your gum line. The process is a lot like how your teeth are normally cleaned, but this focuses on one area to help alleviate under gum infection due to tartar buildup. You will probably be given a local anesthetic to help reduce any discomfort. You will probably find that it is not as painful as you might think.

How important is deep cleaning teeth?

You should be visiting your dentist every six months for a checkup and regular cleanings. This helps keep your teeth as healthy and strong as possible. Proper cleanings mean you can help ward off tooth decay and gum disease.  Even if you are good about brushing and flossing regularly, you will still need to have professional regular cleanings.  By not doing this, you may have to have another procedure called deep cleaning teeth.

Your dentist will also use this time at your checkup to make sure that any cavities are caught before they become large and get a plan together for any issues that may need to be corrected in the future.  The standard cleaning like those done during these visits will remove plaque and polish your teeth.

How often should I have a deep cleaning done?

If you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, you may have some significant tartar buildup along your gum line that can only be removed by a dental deep cleaning.

A hygienist will use a small probe to check the area around your gum line to see if you have any pockets that might trap bacteria.

  • If you hear him or her call out numbers like two and three, you are in good shape.
  • You should be concerned if you hear the number five. If you hear that, you probably have some pockets that can cause issues that lead to periodontal disease. This is when you will probably be told to get scheduled for a deep cleaning teeth procedure that involves scaling and root planing.

Periodontal disease is actually quite common.  As many as 50% of adults have some level of it. It can be serious, but it is also very treatable.

How do you know if you have periodontal disease and need a deep cleaning teeth?  Tell your dentist if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Swollen or red gums, or gums that bleed easily when you brush your teeth
  • Gums that are receding away from your teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Visible pus along the gum line or around the teeth
  • Teeth that are loose in their sockets

If you think you have periodontal disease, you should contact your dentist. Your dentist or hygienist will likely do an exam for periodontal disease once a year at your checkup based on the recommendations from the American Academy of Periodontology.

A dental deep cleaning can be a part of your overall dental health and oral hygiene routine. Along the exterior of your teeth are small grooves and nicks that are great places for bacteria to hide. By having a professional cleaning done, you can get all of those properly cleaned out and you can also get that tough tartar removed from areas that your toothbrush just can’t get to.

If you don’t get a deep cleaning, those pockets of infection could lead to bone loss due to the inflammation that is constantly there.  If your bone deteriorates, it may also mean that your teeth get loose.  This can make eating and talking more difficult, if not lead to complete tooth loss and also impact your overall health.

What should I expect from a dental deep cleaning?

Your dentist or dental professional will probably do a set of X-rays if you don’t have any recent ones on file, as well as a visual exam of your teeth.  He or she will also ask if you have any teeth that have been bothering you so s/he can see what might need to be done.  Then it’s time for the deep cleaning.

The process is called scaling and root planing.  While this sounds like your roots will be filed off, it is actually just the way they are cleaned.  After administering a local anesthetic, your dentist or dental hygienist will use hand scaling tools to get in and clean off the outside surface of your tooth roots.

The scaling is done to remove plaque and tartar from the outside of your teeth. Your hygienist will also use a tool to clean along the gum line to get those pockets cleaned out.  He or she might do this with hand tools or use an ultrasonic tool that also uses a jet of water to help boost the cleaning.

You may have to return in a week for a second dental visit to make sure that everything is cleaned as it should and also to make sure your teeth and gums are doing ok after the cleaning.

How do I care for my teeth after a dental deep cleaning?

Once you get home you will have some home care to do and you will need to keep up on your oral health care in general.  Now that your gums are all clean, you should have much healthier gums in a few weeks.  You may get a special toothpaste recommended to you by your dentist to help boost your overall mouth health with regular brushing.  You may also be prescribed a medicinal mouth rinse that has antibacterial properties to help boost that healing process.

You may need to come back in three months for a follow up visit to make sure that things are progressing and that your periodontal disease is resolving. If not, you may get a referral to a periodontist for some additional evaluation and perhaps dental surgery. This will be needed to help turn the tide and prevent any bone loss.

Then, be sure you keep your other visit to the dentist appointments for regular cleanings to maintain your oral health.

Paying for a deep cleaning teeth

You should ask your dentist what insurance plans they take and if they take your plan, check and see if your plan covers your deep cleaning teeth. Many do, and that can make it a lot more affordable.

A deep cleaning teeth is a relatively simple process, though it may take a couple of sessions. Your hygienist will get all of the tartar and plaque off of your teeth as well as the roots of your teeth and thus keep your gums and teeth healthy and free of periodontal disease. This is an important part of your oral health routine.


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