Dental Care

Dental Deep Cleaning


Why dental deep cleaning? Most people who visit the dentist twice a year have a prophylactic cleaning to remove plaque and tartar from their teeth.

If you have gum problems that go beyond the normal preventative cleaning, then your dentist will suggest a dental deep cleaning.

Back Up a Minute...

Let's talk first about what the general cleaning does for you. Hopefully, you've been brushing twice a day and flossing at least once.

Even with this level of care, your dentist will want to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth. Plaque is a sticky, invisible film that coats your teeth. Ordinarily you get rid of this with your twice-daily brushing.

When plaque builds up, it irritates the gums. Plaque acts on your teeth by causing them to separate slightly away from your gums. But then it hardens into tartar, which causes greater irritation to soft gum tissues, and it cannot be removed by brushing.

As the tiny spaces grow between your teeth and gum tissue, more and more bacteria will settle in these sensitive spaces. Even through the spaces are as small as three millimeters, they will be the host to a variety of problems that we'll talk about.

During a regular cleaning, your dentist checks for spaces between your gums and your teeth with a probe that measures anything significant.

Over three-quarters of all adults over the age of 35 experience periodontal disease at some point. And when your dentist feels that it has progressed too far to benefit from a regular cleaning, he will recommend dental deep cleaning.

What Is a Dental Deep Cleaning?

This process of dental deep cleaning includes both scaling and root planing.

The scaling is less traumatic to gum tissue, while the planing is a little rougher. Most dentists will give the patient some form of anesthetic before beginning the scaling, and when he finishes with that he just goes right on with the planing.

During the first part of this, the dentist or his hygienist goes to work with an ultrasound instrument called a cavitron that uses sound waves to break down the tartar. The dentist can work pretty quickly with the cavitron, but it won't remove everything by itself-it gets about half of the tartar. He must remove the remainder of the plaque and tartar by hand. If the patient has a pacemaker, however, the ultrasound equipment is not used.

The next part is the root planing. The dentist needs to reach deeply into those pockets of space between the teeth and gums to clean them out. It's necessary to smooth the surfaces of the tooth roots and eliminate any foreign material.

Once the root surfaces are smoothed and the accumulated material is removed, the dentist applies a rinse. Often the patient is given an antibiotic to take afterward to avoid additional infection.

The gum tissue can then re-adhere to the teeth as it's supposed to do. The patient's gums will feel a little sore for a day or two after this process.

Some dentists accomplish the entire process of dental deep cleaning in about a half hour. Other times, especially if disease has progressed, the dentist will do part of the gums at one visit and another part at a later visit.

In both cases, you will return to the dentist for a follow-up visit to be certain that your gums are healing nicely.

Just What Is Periodontal Disease?

There are several forms of periodontal disease. When you have a buildup of plaque, plus bacteria that invade the gums, plus a deficiency in your natural resistance, the conditions are ripe.

Most people have heard of gingivitis, which is the very beginning of periodontal disease. This can be one of the causes of bleeding gums, looseness of the gum line where it should be adhering to the teeth, and even loose teeth.

Sometimes you'll notice pus between teeth, and the infection results in bad breath. But often there are no symptoms.

  • Aggressive periodontitis results in gum tissues loosening rather quickly.

  • Chronic periodontitis is a slower process, but includes the same symptoms of tissue and even bone loss.

  • Systemic disease periodontitis occurs in people who have diabetes, respiratory disease, or heart conditions.

  • Necrotizing periodontal disease occurs when infection kills gum tissue, and then goes to work on ligaments and bone. This is experienced by people with immunity disorders such as HIV or leukemia, or it can occur from malnutrition.

What are other contributing factors?

Changes in hormone levels during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause can create problems for females. And almost one-half of all people are genetically predisposed to periodontal problems.

People who use alcohol and tobacco experience high rates of periodontal disease. The smoking itself heats up gum tissues. The nicotine affects the blood vessels in the gums. Saliva is reduced, and smoking decreases the body's natural ability to protect itself.

Stress contributes to problems, because people grind their teeth-this is called bruxism -which results in damaged gum tissues and serious bone loss. You can lose a tooth that's never had a cavity just from years of grinding.

Medications are also associated with hyperplasia gingivitis, which means an increase in the amount of gum tissue caused by inflammation. Some of these include calcium channel blockers used for heart patients, including drugs like Cardizem or Norvasc. Anti-epileptic medications can be a cause. Oral contraceptives and steroids are also known culprits. Cancer drugs damage gum tissue.

There have been studies suggesting that people who live together either both have periodontal disease, or both have healthy gums. Some experts are still debating whether the bacteria that flourish in the mouth can be transmitted among people who live together, or whether they are just more likely to share the same habits of hygiene. So be certain that everyone in your household follows the same healthy practices!


In-Home Cleaning Now or Dental Deep Cleaning Later

The best ways to prevent the need for a specific bleeding gums treatment, seems practicing good oral hygiene. You should leave your dentist's office with a new commitment to a daily routine.

Begin by brushing your teeth at least twice daily. Ask your dentist what kind of toothbrush you should use.

Clean between your teeth with dental floss, once daily or more often if you've eaten something that's sticking in your teeth.

There are commercial products on the market today that make it convenient to take care of your teeth even if you're on the run.

And don't forget those checkups twice a year.

Although all these measures are not a guarantee to avoid dental deep cleaning, it can reduce the probability for the need of it to a strict minimum.



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