What Is A Deep Cleaning?

The thought of a deep dental cleaning might seem a little intimidating if you haven’t had it done before, but it is an incredibly useful procedure when it comes to maintaining dental hygiene.

What Is A Deep Cleaning

But what exactly is deep cleaning, and how is it performed?

In this article, we are going to be answering these questions by taking a closer look at deep cleaning as a whole. Let’s get started.

What Is Deep Dental Cleaning?

Although it might sound like a process that involves bleach and mopping, this thankfully isn’t the case when it comes to deep dental cleaning!

Also going by the name periodontal scaling and root planing, deep cleaning refers to a dental procedure wherein a dental hygienist polishes and thoroughly cleans the teeth and gums by removing any kind of bacteria build-up occurring in areas that are hard to reach with regular brushing and flossing, such as on the surface of your teeth roots and below the gum line.

Deep dental cleaning is made up of two parts in particular: root planing and scaling.

Root planing refers to the smoothing out of the teeth roots- making it easier for your gums to reattach themselves to your teeth.

Whilst scaling involves removing all the tartar (the hardened plaque) and regular plaque that has built up beneath the gum line.

Scaling involves cleaning right down into the gums and getting into the bottom of the pocket.

Whilst deep dental cleaning can be completed fully in one sitting, it can take more than one visit to the dentist in order for the procedure to be completed entirely.

What Is The Difference Between Regular Cleaning And Deep Cleaning?

Regular visits to a dental hygienist will usually involve some simple flossing and brushing. It might even include a bit of polishing and scaling too.

However, root planing is strictly for deep dental cleaning.

Deep cleanings are also aimed more at those who are already dealing with periodontal disease rather than normal cleanings, which are intended to prevent disease.

In terms of length, regular cleanings are much shorter.

They are usually around an hour or less long, whereas deep cleanings can last for multiple hours or- as mentioned- might have to be undertaken over several sessions across a few days.

This will depend on just how severe the tartar and plaque build-up is.

Regular cleanings can be a little sore around your teeth and gums, but deep cleans are far more in-depth, which can lead to a fair amount of soreness that can last a couple of days after the procedure has taken place.

When Is Deep Dental Cleaning Needed?

As noted above, deep dental cleaning is a procedure that is used for those dealing with gum disease.

Gum disease occurs when bacteria found in plaque build-ups cause the gums to become inflamed.

When the gums are inflamed, they can pull away from the teeth and create small pockets that are easily able to trap and lock in plaque.

Once trapped within these pockets, the plaque cannot be removed with regular flossing and brushing.

As well as helping to remove the plaque from these pockets, deep cleaning can also prevent further damage to your teeth if you have the first signs of tooth decay.

Some of these signs are as follows:

  • Thinning Tooth Enamel
  • Bleeding Gums
  • Receding Gums
  • Tooth Loss
  • Chronic Bad Breath
  • Red or Swollen Gums

The Deep Cleaning Dental Procedure

The Deep Cleaning Dental Procedure

We already touched on the potential soreness that can come with having a deep cleaning procedure on your teeth, but what exactly is the process?

Let’s take a look at the steps of this process.

Step 1: Getting A Diagnosis

The initial step is to receive the diagnosis from your dentist. This can be done during a regular check-up via the use of both X-rays and periodontal charting.

Periodontal charting is a method used to measure the space between the gum tissue and the tooth that sits next to it.

This process involves a dental instrument known as a probe, which will be gently and carefully inserted into the space.

The probe is able to measure just how big the space is due to the tape measure like markings on it.

One of these probes can also be used to check areas of suspected gum recession, as well as gum tissue bleeding.

Let’s look at what periodontal charting might discover when it comes to the nature of your gums.

Healthy Gums

Fit comfortably and snugly around the gum, with a probe measurement of between one and three millimetres.

Problematic Gums

Any areas that measure four millimetres or deeper could be considered a cause for concern, as this level of depth means the tissue is inflamed and pulling away from the tooth.

These areas are also likely to be more sensitive when the probe is inserted.

Severely Diseased Gums

If the area between the tooth and the gums is massively deep, the gums are likely to be severely inflamed.

Depths of the pockets between the tooth and the gums can reach up to 12 millimetres with this level of severity.

Step 2: Application Of Anaesthetic

Some dentists will apply local anaesthetic to ensure that no pain is felt during the cleaning procedure.

Numbing gel is also an option that is sometimes used during deep dental cleaning.

Step 3: Cleaning

The cleaning will then be undertaken, with the dentist using hand tools and an ultrasonic instrument in order to remove all plaque, tartar and bacteria from the teeth and gums.

Step 4: Treatment For Infection

A larger infection might be detected by the dentist as they clean and if this is the case, they will offer the appropriate treatment, such as irrigation solutions or antibiotic capsules.

Final Thoughts

That is everything that you need to know about deep dental cleaning!

If you are unsure whether you would benefit from a deep clean for your teeth and gums, consult your dentist so that you can get a proper diagnosis and receive the appropriate treatment.

Andrew Kemp
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