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What Is a Deep Dental Cleaning and How Do I Know if I Need One?

What Is a Deep Dental Cleaning and How Do I Know if I Need One?

Gum disease, also called periodontitis, affects more than 40% of adults in the United States and is the leading cause of tooth loss. 

If your dental checkup reveals gum disease, a deep cleaning is often recommended to help reverse the condition and preserve your oral health. 

At the office of Scott Young, DDS in The Woodlands, Texas, Dr. Young and his team advocate preventive care and are experts in deep cleanings. 

Here, Dr. Young explains everything you need to know about a deep cleaning, also called scaling and root planing. 

The perils of gum disease

Your adult teeth should last a lifetime, yet 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth. Gum disease often begins subtly: a buildup of bacteria-harboring plaque triggers low-level gum inflammation.

At this early stage of the gum disease process, known as gingivitis, routine dental cleanings twice a year are typically enough to mitigate the situation.

However, if gingivitis is aggressive or goes untreated, it can quickly lead to periodontitis. This condition causes the gums to pull away from the teeth, creating spaces or pockets where more damaging bacteria can invade and wreak havoc.

Advancing gum disease can damage bone, causing teeth to loosen and eventually fall out. 

Managing gum disease with deep cleanings

If your gum disease has progressed to periodontitis, indicated by pockets 4 millimeters deep or more, it’s time for a deep cleaning to remove plaque from beneath your gums thoroughly. 

Here’s how the procedure works. First, we remove the plaque and tartar from your teeth and under your gums where pockets have formed. That entails using ultrasonic instruments or manual tools to remove bacteria-harboring matter thoroughly.

Next, to prevent future problems, we use an instrument to smooth out the planes of your roots, encouraging your gums to reattach snugly to your teeth and decreasing deep pockets. That prevents bacteria from infiltrating and causing problems. 

We may perform a deep cleaning over two visits if your gum disease is severe. Some patients experience minor discomfort afterward, usually remedied with over-the-counter medications. 

Keeping your teeth healthy

Dr. Young usually recommends a routine cleaning every three months after a deep cleaning to ensure your gums heal and bacteria remain at bay.

This professional cleaning schedule and diligent home dental hygiene — brushing twice daily, flossing, and rinsing — should keep your teeth and gums healthy.

If you’re overdue for a dental checkup or suspect you may have gum disease, call or click to request an appointment immediately with Dr. Young. Gum disease doesn’t resolve on its own. 

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