Deep Cleaning Your Teeth: When to Do It

woman with newly cleaned teeth

Deep teeth cleaning might sound like something you should do after you've missed a few visits to the dentist or eaten a particularly sticky or a curry meal. A deep cleaning is actually a specific procedure performed by your dental hygienist to treat gum and periodontal disease, according to the International Society of Preventative & Community Dentistry. It's often completed because a person did not undergo routine based dental cleaning appointment on six monthly basis.

The Need for Deep Cleaning

When going to the dentist, the dental hygienist will use an instrument called a probe to measure the area around your teeth to see if you have any pocketing (area between the tooth and gum where bacteria can potentially form). The depth of the gum tissue between the teeth and gums are called pockets when it is five millimeters or more. Every adult should receive a periodontal evaluation each year to determine whether additional treatment is needed. Measuring pocket depth is just one part of a comprehensive dental evaluation.

Ideally, normal healthy pockets will be no more than 3 millimeters deep, if the pockets are greater than 5 millimeters, your dentist might prescribe a deep scaling and root planing appointment with the dental hygienist.

According to the Journal of International Society of Preventative & Community Dentistry, about 95% of India suffers from Periodontal disease, 2% visit the dentist and only about 50% use a toothbrush.

Deep Cleaning Process

Deep teeth cleaning is also known in the dental world as scaling and root planing. Scaling involves removing plaque and tartar from the surface of the teeth and from the pocket area between the teeth and the gums, according to the Indian Dental Association. The dental hygienist can perform scaling and root planing using either electriceor ultrasonic instruments or manual scaling tools.

The other part of deep cleaning is root planing. The dental hygienist will use a scaling instrument to remove plaque and tartar from the surface of the roots of your teeth. A scaling and root planing procedure will require a minimum of two appointment visits and a follow-up visit may be necessary to confirm that your gums and teeth are getting healthier and there is no pocket depth.

Care after Scaling and Root Planing Appointments

Ideally, after this deep cleaning appointment, the bacteria in the pockets of the teeth will be removed and in the next few weeks the gums will become healthier if the person is performing oral hygiene every day. The optimal cleaning toothpaste your dentist will recommend is Colgate Total toothpaste. If an additional mouth-rinse is required, your dentist might prescribe an antibacterial mouthwash, such as Colgate ® Plax, to reduce bacteria in your mouth.

If the deep scaling and 3-month visits to the dentist aren't enough to reverse periodontal disease, seeing a periodontist for a consultation should be the next step to determine the future treatment in regards to options available for the surgery.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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What To Expect During a DENTAL VISIT

On your first visit, your dentist will take a full health history. On follow-up visits, if your health status has changed, make sure to tell your dentist. Here’s what you can expect during most trips to the dentist.

  • A Thorough Ceaning – a dental hygienist or dentist will scrape along and below the gum line to remove built-up plaque and tartar that can cause gum disease, cavities, bad breath and other problems. Then he or she will polish and floss your teeth.

  • A Full Dental Examination – your dentist will perform a thorough examination of your teeth, gums and mouth, looking for signs of disease or other problems.

  • X-Rays – X-rays can diagnose problems otherwise unnoticed, such as damage to jawbones, impacted teeth, abscesses, cysts or tumors, and decay between the teeth.