When it comes to your gums and teeth, they can be in trouble if you don’t brush and floss daily to get rid of tartar, bacteria and oral debris that builds up on them quickly, even below your gum line. Without daily cleaning, you can end up with gingivitis, tooth decay, bone decay and ultimately, lost teeth!
This is why you see your dentist twice a year to get rid of this hardened tartar buildup that your toothbrush and flossing tools alone can’t. Done together though, your daily efforts alongside your professional dental cleanings ensure that your teeth and gums can be their healthiest.
The Origins of Tartar
If you run your tongue across your teeth when you wake up every morning, you can often feel a sticky bacterial film on them called plaque. This clear coating consists of sugars and bacteria mixed with your saliva and food when you eat. If you don’t clear it away, it will harden into tartar (or calculus). But even when you brush and floss, it will still collect under your gum line. A typical dental cleaning involves removing plaque and tartar around your gum line, and below the gum line when necessary.
Deep Dental Cleaning vs a Regular Dental Cleaning
Your bi-annual dental cleanings are essentially preventative dental care because they ensure the gums are safe from tartar buildup. When you skip these cleanings, your gums quickly run into trouble as chronic tartar buildup invites periodontal disease. If your smile has periodontal disease it will require deep cleaning to keep it from progressing, because progressive gum disease won’t just go away by itself. You need to stop the progress and reverse its progression, to keep it from damaging your teeth and gums beyond repair and losing your teeth once the gums recede too far. We work to keep your gum recession in check. If you have tartar buildup under your gum line, your immune system tries to combat the effects and you’ll see your gums receding, swelling, and pulling away from your pearly whites. Receding gums form pockets that attract even more oral bacteria and hardened plaque!
Gum Disease Progression
The early stage of periodontal disease or gingivitis happens when the oral bacteria irritate and infect your gum tissue as we described above. When treated early, we can reverse the harmful effects. If it remains unchecked, the infection spreads to other areas of your mouth. We’re talking about the periodontal ligament that supports your teeth, the cementum protecting your tooth roots, and finally, even your alveolar bone anchoring your tooth. At some point, your teeth will loosen and fall out (or need to be removed). At your dental cleanings, your hygienist will measure these pocket sizes to detect the level of gum disease. Once they are bigger than 4-5mm, you will require scaling and root planing, known as deep cleaning, to keep the disease from progressing.
What Causes Periodontal Disease
- Chewing tobacco or smoking
- Clenching or grinding your teeth
- Poor diet
- Poor oral hygiene care
Deep Dental Cleaning
For your periodontal deep cleaning appointment, we will numb the gums using a local anesthetic so you will feel comfortable during the treatment. Next, we will clear away all the accumulated plaque, calculus and oral debris that has collected under the gum line. We will also smooth and plane any infected tooth roots to get rid of harmful oral bacteria. If necessary, we may prescribe an antibiotic to support your body’s efforts in battling the infection. Your deep cleanings are typically spread out over two visits, cleaning one side of your mouth each time.
The good news is, your periodontal deep cleaning will stop the disease from progressing any further, so your gums can finally heal and properly support your teeth. How often you might need a deep cleaning depends on the health of your gums.
Remember, your first line of defense against this insidious disease is keeping oral plaque from building up in the first place. Clean your mouth at least twice a day, encompassing all your tooth surfaces, between your teeth and especially around your gum line. Limit sugary, starchy foods, eat a nutritious diet and keep all your dental cleaning appointments!
If you need help with your smile, we welcome you to contact our team to schedule a periodontal deep cleaning below your gum line. We can help your teeth and gums stay healthy and strong for a lifetime of smiles!