Why Your Teeth Need a Deep Dental Cleaning

 In Family Dentistry

Sometimes, when you visit your dentist for a routine cleaning and exam, your dentist may tell you that you should schedule a “deep” cleaning.  This may also be referred to as “scaling” or “root planing”. You see, even if you brush and floss your teeth regularly, and stick to your twice a year routine checkups, you still need a little something extra every now and then.  So, what exactly does this mean, and how is it different than a regular cleaning?

When you go in for regular dental cleaning, your hygienist will use a special tool to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth, but only above the gum line.  A deep cleaning, on the other hand, is a cleaning that’s performed below the gum line. This is also referred to as scaling and root debridement. During this deep cleaning session, the roots of your teeth are carefully cleaned and smoothed so as to disrupt harmful bacteria that lead to gum disease.  Of course, your entire mouth may not need this treatment. During your appointment, a deep cleaning may be necessary for a particular section of your teeth, all of your teeth, or just one single tooth.

Why Schedule a Deep Cleaning?

Even if you take careful care of your teeth, you need to know that bacteria growth and infection can happen to anyone.  In fact, sometimes genetics play a role even if you practice stellar at-home care. So, you just won’t know until your dentist takes a closer look during your checkup.       

Bacteria growth affects those with poor oral hygiene habits more often than those who pay close attention to their oral health.  But, sometimes your at-home care efforts just simply aren’t enough. And, when bacteria are missed during a routine brushing or flossing, and it’s left to sit, you can develop periodontal disease, which is essentially an active infection in the gums.  

This is why it’s so important to get regular cleanings performed by a hygienist.  Only they can completely remove plaque and tartar build-up that your toothbrush can’t.  So, don’t think of a deep cleaning as non-essential or “extra.”

Deep Cleaning & Prevention

When you go in for deep cleaning, your hygienist will use a probe to examine the pockets between your teeth and gums.  They’re looking to see how deep these pockets are. If they’re too deep, the likely culprit is the onset of gum disease.  Other signs they’ll look for include bleeding and inflamed gums as well as bad breath, which are all signs of periodontal disease setting in.

If left untreated, periodontal disease can result in major bone loss and tooth loss.  While concerning in and of themselves, there are even wider reaching effects that will impact your overall health.  These include:

  • Heart Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Respiratory Infections
  • Chronic Kidney Disease

A dentist recommended deep cleaning is an essential proactive measure to ensure that your overall health stays in top shape.  

When Do You Need a Deep Cleaning?

Depending on the progress of your periodontal disease, your smile may require a deep cleaning every few years or sooner.  So, talk to your dentist. They will come up with an appropriate, individualized plan of action to stay ahead of the issue.  We strongly recommend taking their advice into consideration, because the sooner you address the issue, the less damage it will cause, keeping not only your smile healthy but your overall health in tip-top shape.    

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