Perhaps you’ve noticed your gums bleeding while brushing or flossing. Or maybe when looking in the mirror, you’ve noticed your teeth are looking a little longer than they did before. Or maybe you simply haven’t been to the dentist for an exam and cleaning for a couple of years.
If any of these scenarios sound familiar, it might be time to get a deep teeth cleaning.
We understand that a deep cleaning might sound a little intense. But in reality, it’s an important, effective, and easy first step in treating early stages of gum disease. Let’s take a closer look.
Why you may need a deep teeth cleaning
Signs of gum disease include:
- Gums that are red, swollen, puffy, or tender
- Gums that bleed easily
- Chronic bad breath
- Receding gums
- Loose or wiggly teeth
- Pain when chewing
Gum disease — including gingivitis (its earliest and often reversible state) — develops as a result of plaque and tartar buildup on the teeth.
Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms over the teeth. When combined with foods that are high in sugar or acid, plaque can slowly start to break down your enamel, often leading to tooth decay or gum disease. That’s why a regular oral hygiene routine of daily brushing and flossing and regular 6-month dental check ups is so important — it helps keep plaque under control!
Still, this plaque buildup happens naturally over time. It can eventually become tartar, which is more difficult to remove with regular brushing and flossing.
As plaque and tartar run rampant, your gums will become inflamed and swollen, causing a gap to form between your teeth and gums. This gap creates a very hard-to-reach space where plaque and tartar will develop and thrive. A deep teeth cleaning focuses on areas like this, getting into those gaps and removing the buildup.
Risks of untreated gum disease
- Tooth loss
- Loose teeth
- Changes in bite
- Difficulty chewing or eating
- Damage to the bone and jawbone
Nearly 50% of adults over the age of 30 have some form of gum disease, and this disease is the number one cause of tooth loss among adults! That’s why it’s important to keep up on your routine exams and cleanings and maintain a good at-home oral hygiene routine.
Not sure where to start? Drs. Madrigal and Reyes can provide recommendations for treating gum disease and create a customized care plan for you. Contact us here with questions or to learn more.
Deep teeth cleaning vs. regular teeth cleaning
Both types of teeth cleanings focus on removing plaque and tartar in the mouth. The main difference here is that regular teeth cleanings do this above the gumline, while deep cleanings focus on cleaning below the gumline.
During a regular teeth cleaning, like what you experience during your 6-month visits to TLC Escondido Dental, your dentist will thoroughly examine your teeth and gums, looking for signs of cavities and gingivitis. Then, your hygienist will carefully remove plaque and tartar buildup on the teeth, floss your teeth, and, if necessary, apply a fluoride treatment. The main focus is identifying problems and preventing future ones.
On the other hand, the main focus of a deep cleaning, also known as root planing or scaling, is to treat gum disease. While regular teeth cleanings focus on the visible parts of the teeth, deep cleanings remove plaque and tartar buildup on the roots of the teeth and in the pockets that develop between the teeth and the gums.
What you can expect from a deep teeth cleaning
- Our deep cleaning treatments take multiple appointments — we’ll clean one side of the mouth at the first appointment, and the other side of the mouth at the second appointment
- Settle into our relaxing, plush patient chairs — ask our team about additional amenities to keep you feeling comfy and cozy!
- We’ll administer a local anesthetic to numb your gums and keep you relaxed during treatment
- All in all, each treatment should only take about 45 minutes
- We may also recommend adding on a laser bacterial treatment to further remove gum disease-causing bacteria and promote faster healing in the gums
Is a deep teeth cleaning painful?
Thanks to a local anesthetic applied during the procedure, deep teeth cleanings aren’t painful, although it is normal to feel a little sensitivity following the procedure.
To combat this, we recommend taking over-the-counter pain medication to reduce inflammation. It’s also good to avoid overly hot or cold foods and beverages for a few days after your treatment, as your teeth may feel a little more sensitive.
If you’re really concerned about tooth sensitivity, talk with Dr. Madrigal or Dr. Reyes. They may recommend you eat soft foods for 2-3 days, focusing on things like applesauce, yogurt, soup (that’s not too hot), or mashed potatoes.