What Is a Deep Dental Cleaning?
Do your gums bleed when you floss or brush? This may be a sign that you need a deep dental cleaning.
Deep dental cleanings are a special type of teeth cleaning that is more intensive than a regular cleaning. It is often necessary for patients who have gum disease. In this blog post, we will review what signs and symptoms might require a deep cleaning, and what you can expect from one.
Regular Teeth Cleanings by Your Dental Hygienist
First, let's review a regular teeth cleaning (or "prophylaxis") performed by your dental hygienist. You will be seated in a comfortable dental lounge chair. The dental hygienist will typically place a cloth underneath your chin (on the upper body) to catch any flying debris. The hygienist then uses sanitized metal tools to scrape away tartar and plaque from the teeth and gum line.
Once the dental hygienist is done with gently scraping the teeth, your teeth will be brushed and polished with an electric toothbrush and then flossed.
Ideally, your teeth should be cleaned at the dentist's office every six months at least.
When teeth do not get the benefit of regular teeth cleanings at the dentist, plaque and tartar can build up. This creates a home for bacteria, which then starts to eat away at teeth and gums. This can cause gum disease, which we will review next.
What Is Gum Disease, and How Can Deep Cleaning Help?
So, if you need a deep cleaning, it is probably a given that you have gum disease. The official name of gum disease is periodontal disease or periodontitis. Gingivitis, which means inflammation of the gums, is the precursor to full-blown gum disease.
You may have gingivitis if you experience any bleeding after normal brushing and flossing. Healthy gums generally do not bleed with normal daily dental hygiene.
Gingivitis, if left untreated, can progress to become full blown gum disease or periodontitis.
In the early phases of periodontal disease, the gums begin to recede. This means they are detaching from the teeth. This can lead to the development of small pockets that can fill with harmful bacteria. Some bone loss can occur at this stage of the disease.
As periodontal disease progresses, your teeth can actually start to become loose. More bleeding, as well as pain, can occur due to the recession of the gums. The bacterial infection in the gums may not just affect the local area - it can also lead to a body-wide inflammatory response.
Advanced periodontitis can lead to permanent tooth loss, not to mention intense pain, extreme bad breath, and other complications.
For these reasons and more, having a deep dental cleaning can be critical - not just for gum and teeth health, but the health of the whole body.