Deep Cleaning—Scaling and Root Planing
A trip to the dentist is generally a simple process. Your dentist will clean your teeth with medical-grade equipment, check your teeth and gums for decay and disease, and ensure the integrity of your jawbone. If you haven’t been to the dentist in a long time or you haven’t been taking good care of your oral health, though, your dentist may need to schedule a deep cleaning procedure. This procedure is also known as “scaling and root planing.”
Below is more information about the procedure, why you may need it, and how to prevent a deep cleaning in the future.
There are a few telltale signs that you require a scaling and root planing procedure. Most of the visible signs have to do with your gums. Those that need a deep cleaning procedure often have gums that are bleeding and inflamed. This is due to the plaque on the patient’s teeth that is causing an infection. Patients also may notice tender gums, bad breath, and color changes to their gums.
If you notice these symptoms, make sure you set an appointment with your dentist as soon as you can. These are all signs of gum disease. If it isn’t caught early on, it can lead to periodontitis, which is much more severe. Eventually, this can mean severe decay, bone loss, and even tooth loss. Call your dentist’s office for an appointment for a deep cleaning to have the plaque removed that is leading to gum disease and infection.
Did you know that, at any given time, you have as many as 100 to 200 different species of bacteria in your mouth? I know, gross. With good oral hygiene, you could have around 1,000 to 10,000 bacteria living on just one of your teeth. Without good hygiene, this number can shoot up to around 100 million or even as high as 1 billion! This bacteria is called “plaque,” and it is a colorless, sticky film. Plaque is well-known to cause both gum disease and cavities.
Plaque causes damage to your teeth when you eat and drink. Over time, this causes enamel to break down. From there, cavities are formed. If the plaque is not removed from the gum line, it will cause gum disease. Gingivitis can eventually lead to periodontitis, which is a very serious illness.
While everyone has some plaque, it shouldn’t develop to the point where it becomes tartar. This is hardened plaque. In order to avoid this, you should take proper care of your oral health. If it gets to the point where you have a lot of plaque and tartar forming, a deep cleaning may be the best solution.
The process of a deep cleaning (scaling and root planing) procedure consists of a dentist removing the tartar and plaque not only from the surface of the teeth of a patient but also below the gumline. A scaling tool or an ultrasonic instrument is used for the scaling part of the procedure. Root planing involves cleaning the tooth all the way to the root. In order to get this done, a local anesthetic will be used to reduce or eliminate pain. A deep cleaning may take multiple visits to complete.
Once it’s gotten to the point where a deep cleaning is needed, you are at serious risk of permanent damage. This may mean more costly procedures in the future. If you allow it to progress, you may even lose a tooth or multiple teeth. You need to reverse the gum disease and get rid of any tooth decay. This means getting rid of that plaque that has formed.
A deep cleaning will allow your gums to heal and will help with tooth decay. If your dentist says you need a deep cleaning, make sure you schedule an appointment for as soon as you can.
If you want to avoid a deep cleaning entirely, you need to limit the amount of plaque buildup. While you may have some plaque buildup over time, regular trips to the dentist will allow your dentist to remove this plaque before it causes any real damage. Make sure you schedule an appointment with your dentist every six months so they can perform a cleaning and examination. Your dentist will ensure the health of your teeth, gums, and jawbone. They will also take x-rays to make sure they don’t miss anything below the gumline. If they notice any issues during the examination, they will schedule an appointment with you to address those issues. This may include a deep cleaning. Listen to your dentist and take care of the problem early before it gets worse.
One of the best things you can do to cut back on plaque and reduce the chances of cavities and gum disease is to simply take proper care of your oral health. This includes brushing, flossing, and rinsing out your mouth twice a day, every day. Make sure you are being thorough with your brushing and flossing. This doesn’t mean brushing and flossing aggressively. If you are bleeding while brushing and flossing, you may be doing so too hard. If you notice that you are still bleeding when you soften up, consider a softer toothbrush. If there is still a problem, schedule an appointment with your dentist. You may have gum disease.
With proper at-home oral healthcare and regular trips to the dentist, you should be able to avoid a deep cleaning entirely. If you are showing the symptoms of gum disease and tooth decay, though, reach out to Oxboro Dental today. We’ll schedule you an appointment with a dentist so they can examine your teeth, gums, and jawbone. From there, they may schedule a follow-up appointment for a deep cleaning, or multiple deep cleaning procedures.