You may have heard of deep cleaning or even know someone who’s had it, but how do you know if that’s something you need for your oral health? Deep cleanings, or scale and root planing, is a preventative procedure for those showing early signs of gum disease. While everyone might not need it if they regularly visit their dental office twice a year, they may be more susceptible to needing deep cleaning if they take poor care of their oral health.
Dentists Treat Early Gum Disease by Deep Cleaning
Mild gum disease or gingivitis normally develops when bacteria build below the gumline. This can happen from lack of or inconsistent brushing and flossing that allows food and debris to settle on teeth. If home dental care continues to be inadequate, the dentist may recommend deep cleaning. Periodontitis is a more advanced gum disease that will most likely be treated with a deep cleaning in the early stages. The goal is to prevent more severe effects such as tooth loss.
Comprehensive Periodontal Evaluation (CPE)
The American Academy of Periodontology recommends having a comprehensive periodontal evaluation at least once a year. The evaluation takes place using a measuring tool to determine how deep the periodontal pockets are between gums and teeth. Anything beyond 3 millimeters may signal a patient has gum disease. The first step would be to schedule a deep cleaning to help it from getting any more severe or deeper.
What Happens During a Deep Cleaning?
In addition to the routine cleaning procedures and scraping away tartar and plaque above and below the gumline around teeth, the dentist will also clean the root’s surface. Dental professionals call the regular cleaning scaling and they recognized the cleaning of the root as root planing. During root planing, dental hygienists also smooth rough spots where bacteria were able to build, which also allows the gums to properly reattach to the tooth’s root. They may also add antimicrobials to get rid of bacteria below the gumline. Depending on the severity of the gum disease, root planing could take more than one visit and a couple of hours per visit. Only a professional will know for sure if you need deep cleaning, but there are some signs to pay attention to at home that may indicate your gums are suffering.
#1 Bleeding Gums
Some people experience bleeding if they’ve been skipping flossing for a while. Continued bleeding during flossing may indicate there is a buildup or infection along the gumline. If you have bleeding gums while brushing, you should definitely schedule a checkup with your Clermont dentist. It’s not normal to have such sensitivity in your gums unless there is inflammation due to plaque buildup. Some pregnant women are more likely to have irregular plaque buildup and may experience bleeding gums, and other health conditions can also cause inflammation as well.
#2 Large Pockets at the Gumline
Stand in front of the mirror and lower your bottom lip. Check your gums to see if they look swollen at the gum line, or if the pockets look abnormally full. Large pockets at the gum line may be a sign that they are full of pus, tartar, plaque, or bacteria. These are an indication of gum disease and a need for preventative treatment such as deep cleaning.
#3 Bad Breath
There are a range of reasons for bad breath, but there is reason for concern if your breath is consistently bad with no breaks in between. One indication of gum disease or bacterial growth is smelly breath that doesn’t go away after cleaning your teeth, gums, and tongue.
#4 Brittle or Chipping Teeth
If your teeth are breaking or cracking without injury, that’s a problem. If you’re eating things you normally enjoy or your tooth chips during your normal home dental care regimen, they may be weak due to inflamed or infected gums. If this occurs in combination with bleeding gums, set a dental appointment as soon as possible. Tooth loss is a symptom is progressive gum disease, but beginning periodic deep cleanings could save the rest of your teeth.
Even if the tooth isn’t completely gone, you may feel unusually looseness in your teeth. Or in severe cases, you may also notice your teeth look longer because they have protruded more out of the gums. Any gum or tooth sensitivity when eating or cleaning your teeth could be a sign of an infection that needs deep cleaning.
Let the Dentist Be your Guide
The only way to know for sure if you need a deep cleaning is to consult with your local family dentist. At Hancockvillage Dental, we will conduct an exam and comprehensive periodontal evaluation to spot or track any progression of periodontal disease or decay. The sooner you know the level of treatment you need, the better chance you have of saving your teeth and having healthier gums in the future. Call us today to secure a healthy smile for life!