What is a Deep Cleaning?
A deep teeth cleaning, otherwise known as scaling and root planing, involves a more significant cleaning than a prophylaxis (routine cleaning), and is indicated for patients who have calculus build-up below the gumline. A deep cleaning can do more than a regular cleaning can to restore your gum health, after showing signs of gum disease. Here’s what you can expect during your appointment:
Examination for Signs of Gum Disease
Your deep cleaning will begin with an examination of the teeth, gums, and bone. During this time, you should mention any bothersome symptoms you’ve been experiencing—such as red, swollen gums, bleeding gums when brushing or flossing, or a visible buildup of plaque or tartar. These can all be early signs of gum disease, and should be treated as soon as possible. If left untreated, pockets that form within the gum tissue next to the teeth can start to deepen, allowing bacteria to enter, and can eventually lead to bone and tooth loss. Once gum disease is detected, the appropriate treatment regimen can be determined based on its severity, location, and the number of teeth affected.
Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing involves removing trapped bacteria and debris at and beneath the gumline to soothe and heal the gum tissue. Scaling refers to the removal of plaque and tartar below the gumline, while root planing involves smoothing the roots of your teeth to allow the gums to heal and reattach to the tooth surface, which is what healthy gums do. Depending on the extent of cleaning needed, you might be given local anesthesia to ensure your comfort during the process.
After scaling and root planing, a follow up appointment will be necessary to re-evaluate your gum health. If your gums have successfully reattached and healed, no further treatment is necessary—but it is important to keep up with regular cleanings at the appropriate intervals to maintain your tooth and gum health. If scaling and root planing was not sucessful, further treatment with a periodontist (gum and bone specialist) may be necessary.
A regular cleaning might be sufficient to remove superficially harmful bacteria and tartar, but if you experience signs of gum disease, a deep cleaning can help! Schedule your appointment with Dr. Schultz to determine which kind of cleaning would be best to restore healthy teeth and gums!