How Do I Know If I Need A Deep Dental Clean?

When you go to a dental check up you may find that your dentist recommends that you get a deep dental clean. Deep dental cleanings are recommended if you show signs of gum disease and the treatment will be performed by a dental hygienist.

So what can you expect after your dentist makes this recommendation?

How Will The Dentist Determine That I Need a Deep Dental Clean?

A Comprehensive Periodontal Evaluation (CPE) is the method for checking if you are a candidate for a deep dental clean. These are usually performed twice a year together with dental hygiene visits and the procedure involves using a periodontal probe to measure how deep the spaces (periodontal pockets) between your gums and your teeth are.

Healthy pockets will be 2-3mm or less and spaces any deeper than this can be a sign of gum disease. You’ve probably had this test done every time you’ve been to the dentist without noticing, as it is normally painless.

What Does The Procedure Involve?

The regular cleaning you get at a dental check up (scaling and cleaning) is where the dental hygienist removes tartar and plaque from your teeth and gum line. In a deep clean the tartar and plaque are removed from the teeth and gum line as well as in the root surfaces, with a technique known as root planing.

Root planing removes all the plaque and tartar from the root surfaces and leaves them smooth which prevents further bacteria from collecting and worsening the gum disease. This procedure takes between one to two hours and it must be completed by a dental hygienist. Local anesthetic or anesthetic cream can be used before the procedure takes place so you wont feel any pain.

What Is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is caused when plaque is not brushed or flossed away and it turns into tartar, which cannot be brushed away. Tartar then attracts bacteria and as the bacterium settles on the gum it causes inflammation (gingivitis). This is the mildest form of gum disease and it can be treated by a traditional dental cleaning and an improved home care regime.

If gingivitis is left untreated it can become periodontitis and in this case the gums actually pull away from the teeth and create pockets, which become infected. The natural immune response is to fight the bacteria and this combined with the infection leads to bone loss and breaks in the connective tissue that holds the teeth in place. Severe periodontitis can result in irreversible bone loss and tooth loss that can only be treated by surgical implants and in some case dentures.

Is It Used In All Cases of Gum Disease?

No, it is only used if your dentist feels as though your home care regime isn’t effective enough to manage your gum disease or if you are suffering from an advanced case of gum disease. In the case of advanced gum disease, or periodontitis, a deep dental clean is often the first form of treatment that a dentist will turn to before more serious alternatives are used.

What Can I Expect After A Deep Dental Cleaning?

It’s normal to feel sensitivity, bleeding and soreness for the first few days after your treatment but after this initial period your entire mouth should feel better, cleaner and your gums and teeth will feel firmer. Your dentist will probably organise a follow-up appointment to check how your gums have responded and to check the depth of your periodontal pockets following the treatment.

How to Avoid Needing Further Deep Cleaning?

Your dentist will provide you with information on how you can maintain healthy gum health after your appointment. The best way you can maintain healthy gums is to brush twice daily using the proper technique (your dentist or hygienist may recommend using an electric toothbrush), floss daily and use an antibacterial mouthwash. Smoking can also have a detrimental effect on gum health so it’s important you quit if you want to enjoy healthy gums.

A deep dental clean is an effective treatment against periodontitis. However, it’s important that you take the necessary steps to avoid ever having to go through this treatment. Periodontitis is not always treatable and it can have devastating circumstances so to avoid suffering from this form of gum disease make sure that you have a healthy home-care regime and visit your dentist regularly so that early stages of gingivitis can be treated.