What is a Deep Cleaning at the Dentist?


Dental Cleaning O'Fallon ILYou may be familiar with deep cleaning your house or your car, but what does it mean when your dentist says your teeth need a deep cleaning?  A deep cleaning refers to scaling and root planing, which is a special type of cleaning to reverse mild to moderate gum disease. Therefore, if a deep cleaning is suggested, there’s a good chance your dentist has noticed signs of periodontal disease.

How Does Gum Disease Begin and Progress?

Gum disease most commonly begins with poor oral hygiene, or when bacteria and plaque are allowed to accumulate along the gums and around your teeth. This causes inflammation and an infection that can destroy the framework that hold your teeth in place. Early gum disease, or gingivitis, is marked by red, swollen or bleeding gums. However, if not treated, patients may start to notice that their gums are receding or pulling away from the base of their teeth. This creates deep pockets of tissue that harbor more bacteria and escalate the infection. Therefore, it is imperative that interventional treatment for gum disease include a thorough cleaning that goes beneath the gum line. Advanced stages of gum disease can lead to bone and tooth loss.

What to Expect With Scaling and Root Planing

While it might sound intimidating, scaling and root planing is simply a deep cleaning below the gum line to restore your gums back to health. It is, however, a sequence of steps that may require you to return to the office for additional visits. Typically, one quadrant or one-half of your mouth is treated at a time.

During a scaling and root planing, patients often receive a local anesthetic to protect their comfort. Next, a combination of hand instruments and ultrasonic scaling devices will be used  to remove plaque and bacteria build-up below the gum line and on the roots of your teeth. At this time, your dentist may also rinse and sterilize your gum pockets with a special anti-bacterial solution. Lastly, the root surfaces of your teeth are smoothed (planing) to encourage the gums to reattach. After your deep cleaning procedure, you can expect to mild soreness and sensitivity for 1-3 days. It is important that you take any prescribed oral antibiotic to foster optimal healing.

According to the Journal of Evidenced-Based Dental Practice, scaling and root planing is considered the “gold standard” treatment for patients with chronic periodontitis (advanced gum disease). To learn more about what a deep cleaning can do for your oral health, please call Soft Touch Dentistry. Taking care of your gums is important, as these soft tissues are the framework of your smile!

Soft Touch Dentistry

1214 Paragon Dr
O’Fallon, IL 62269
(618) 622-5050