When you visit your dentist, you’ll be asked to schedule a dental cleaning. You may hear the term “deep cleaning” in reference to your appointment. Regular cleanings help keep your teeth healthy and free of tarter. A “deep cleaning” is a method used to treat periodontal disease.
Regular Dental Cleaning
Regular dental cleaning should be performed every six months or so. A regular cleaning is designed to maintain healthy gums. With regular brushing and flossing and regular cleanings, gums stay pink and healthy, with little or no bleeding. A regular cleaning removes tartar, plaque, and stains from the surface of the teeth above the gum line. Your hygienist will use special tools to carefully remove plaque and tartar from your teeth.
In patients who have not followed good oral health care procedures at home, or who have not had regular dental cleanings, pockets at the gum line may collect bacteria and tartar. Pockets which are more than 3 millimeters deep are a sign of periodontal disease. Your dentist may recommend a deep cleaning to remove deposits. Also known as “root planing,” deep cleaning involves removing tartar, toxic deposits, and bacteria from the roots of the teeth within the depths of the pockets.
What to Expect
Since your dentist will be working below the gum line, you can expect some discomfort, but should not experience pain. Your dentist may apply an oral anesthetic, depending upon the extent of the necessary cleaning. The deep cleaning will require a follow-up appointment to continue to monitor and treat the periodontal disease.
What to Do After a Deep Cleaning
Following a deep dental cleaning, it’s important to follow your dentist’s instructions regarding at-home oral health care, and follow up regularly to maintain your overall oral health. Regular brushing and flossing, rinsing with antibacterial mouthwash, and taking advantage of fluoride and other treatments your dentist may offer are all recommended.