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Deep Teeth Cleanings

Scaling & Root Planing

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What is Deep Teeth Cleanings?

Deep teeth cleanings are a type of dental cleaning needed for people who have signs and symptoms of periodontal disease (aka Gum Disease). It’s a complex disease that is most prominently caused by poor dental care and hygiene. When someone isn’t routinely brushing, flossing, or practicing good oral health habits, plaque and bacteria are not removed as they should be. This causes the body to form an inflammatory response to get rid of the bacteria which it is unable to accomplish. It cannot be removed naturally and ends up damaging sensitive gum tissue, surrounding bone, and everything in its path. This immune reaction can lead to significant bone deterioration, tooth loss, and infection if left untreated.

Dental Scaling & Root Planing illustration with tooth and scaler

Scaling and Root Planing

The first step in combating gum disease is to have a deep teeth cleaning, also known as scaling and root planing. Symptoms of periodontal disease can be seen on the surface when the gum recedes from the tooth and forms “pockets.” These areas of space between where the gum and the tooth connect welcome plaque and tartar to hide and accumulate, thus requiring more in-depth cleaning to remove. On a dental X-Ray, periodontal disease is diagnosed by a dentist by evaluating the amount of bone loss present due to the inflammatory response of fighting bacteria.

Early Stages of Gum Disease

  • Gingivitis diagnosis
  • Puffy or swollen gum indicating inflammation
  • Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
  • Gums that are dark red, magenta, dark pink in color
  • Puss at the gumline or within the tooth pocket
  • Sensitivity when brushing or flossing
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Deep Teeth Cleaning Process

Periodontal Scaling and Root Planing is a jump-start to your periodontal maintenance and dental cleaning routine. The deep cleaning often takes place in two appointments, focusing on one side of the mouth at a time. Each side of the mouth takes one to two hours to clean. Two appointments help reduce the discomfort of the cleaning and the length of time being treated at once.

Scaling and root planing involves a deeper level of the gums. The purpose of this is to smooth the root of the tooth and help it to reattach, thus reducing the pocket. This procedure can also help to slow down or even reverse gum disease in the earliest stages.

A dental hygienist performs deep cleanings with a handheld instrument that uses sound wave technology to wash away tarter and buildup on the tooth’s surface and just below the gumline. Two of the most used instruments are called Cavitron or Piezo. The ultrasonic vibration helps to ensure a more comfortable cleaning and is much more efficient than using a hand-scaler independently.

Aftercare Periodontal Scaling and Root Planing

A deep teeth cleaning can leave your mouth tender or numb. It is important to refrain from eating hard or textured food while these sensations are still present. After the procedure, you need to be careful, and allow your mouth time to heal. Once you begin to eat, make sure to avoid acidic foods like tomatoes, oranges, and grapes. Acidic foods may sting your gums that are still healing. Avoid foods that can get lodged in the gums like nuts or popcorn.

Dr. Jonathan Hale may prescribe a prescription mouthwash and toothpaste for home care use. Take any antibiotics if they were prescribed to prevent any oral infections from developing. Always take the full course of antibiotics. Finally, make sure to rinse your mouth with saltwater every few hours for the next 24 hours following the dental care procedure to reduce swelling and discomfort.

Mouthwash Deep Teeth Cleanings
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Periodontal Maintenance

After scaling and root planing procedure, the next step is to complete periodontal cleanings as recommended by the dentist. This gum disease maintenance helps to prevent the gum disease from progressing further, which is harder to accomplish once you have been diagnosed. Daily brushing is the most important aspect of keeping good oral hygiene.

In addition to Perio cleanings, you should remove anything from your diet that contributes to inflammation. Nourish your teeth with plenty of Vitamin C, which supports healthy gums. Monitor any environmental risks that might contribute to oral diseases. Support your immune system by getting regular exercise and sleep. Remember that gum infections can travel to other vital organs of the body, so minimize your risks by maintaining your oral health with regular dental care, dental X-rays, deep cleanings, and aftercare.

Prevention is the Key

Deep dental cleanings are an important part of gum disease treatment. By having this procedure done, you can help to reduce the progression of gum disease and keep your teeth looking and feeling their best. If you have any questions about deep teeth cleaning or periodontal maintenance, be sure to ask your dentist or hygienist.

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