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Deep Cleaning Your Teeth: When to Do It

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

Deep cleaning your teeth might sound like something a dental professional recommends if you’ve not been brushing your teeth well enough or if you’ve missed more than a few dental visits. But in fact, deep cleaning is a dental procedure that treats gum and periodontal disease. According to a study by the Journal of the American Dental Association, deep cleaning is especially beneficial to people with chronic periodontitis. Learn when deep cleaning is right for you and how the process works.

When Is Deep Cleaning Necessary?

The American Academy of Periodontology suggests that the bones and gum tissue surrounding your teeth should fit snugly around them. When you have periodontal disease, these very bones and gum tissue get destroyed, resulting in pockets forming around your teeth.

Over time, these pockets increasingly get deeper, making room for bacteria to live, which leads to even more bone and tissue loss. Eventually, if too much bone is lost, dental professionals might recommend that you need to get those teeth extracted.

At your evaluation, your dentist will measure the depth of these pockets. If the pockets are too deep, you won’t be able to treat your teeth with at-home oral care only. You will need a deep dental cleaning.

How Does Deep Cleaning Work?

Deep cleaning of the teeth comprises two parts – scaling and root planing.

Scaling. This part of the procedure is where a dental professional removes all the plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) collected below the gumline, cleaning all the way down to the bottom of the pocket.

Planing. The next step of deep cleaning consists of your dentist or dental hygienist smoothening out your teeth roots so the gums can reattach to your teeth.

It may take more than a single visit for your deep cleaning procedure to be complete.

Oral Care After Deep Cleaning

After your deep cleaning, the pockets should be free of bacteria, but your gum tissue will most likely feel sensitive. Your dentist will give you specific instructions on caring for your teeth in the weeks to follow. It’s best to be careful about what you eat and how you brush. Your dental professional might also prescribe a mouth rinse to reduce bacteria in your mouth.

Your dentist will likely ask for you to come back for a check-up in a couple of months.

Deep cleaning for your teeth might feel like a big step, but in reality, it’s an effective procedure that can remove infection and tartar so your gums can heal. By prepping yourself mentally for the procedure, you can take the first steps towards healthier and happier gums. After all, happier gums equal a happier you!

Oral Care Center articles are reviewed by an oral health medical professional. This information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, physician or other qualified healthcare provider. 

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