You may have heard about deep cleanings at the dental office, or maybe you have one scheduled already. This procedure, also called root planing and scaling, isn’t just your hygienist working extra hard to make your teeth shiny and bright. A deep cleaning is performed when tartar deposits form under the gum line on the roots of your teeth, which can lead to gum disease and other ailments if left untreated. To help prepare you for a future procedure (or help you prevent one!), we’ve provided a brief overview of what you can expect during a deep cleaning, and how you can help reduce tartar build-ups in the future.
So, What’s The Gist?
In a nutshell, a deep cleaning is a procedure in which your hygienist scrapes away tartar deposits from the roots of your teeth. This tartar forms pockets between your teeth and gums, where harmful bacteria can spread and cause a wide variety of issues, such as gum disease. By removing the deposits — and committing to regular brushing and flossing — the pockets can heal up and any progression towards gum disease can be halted.
How Is The Procedure Performed?
Scaling and root planing is typically done in two separate sessions, a few days or a few weeks apart. During your first session, the dentist will numb half of your mouth with a local anesthetic to prevent discomfort. Then, the dentist will use a variety of tools to go below the gum line and scrape tartar deposits off of the roots of your teeth. These instruments are usually a combination of hand and ultrasonic tools. The same procedure will occur on your next visit, only to the other side of your mouth. Your dentist will usually ask you to come back every three months for the first year, so they can check to make sure the pockets have healed and ensure that no bacterial infection have occurred. After this, your doctor may ask you to come back for cleanings every 3, 4, or 6 months, depending on the severity of your problem and the progress you’ve made.
What’s Your Role?
A deep cleaning is usually needed when a patient does not have a good oral hygiene routine or if the patient doesn’t visit the dentist for regular cleanings. Both factors, especially when combined, can contribute to tartar buildup along the roots and inflammation in the gums. After both deep cleaning sessions are completed, it’s up to you to commit to a regular routine of thorough brushing and flossing, which will help prevent tartar from forming. It’s also important to visit your dental office for regular cleanings, as they can help get rid of any developing tartar deposits before they can cause more advanced issues — and help you prevent another deep cleaning.
Deep cleanings are a common procedure, but one that can easily be prevented if you get in the habit of taking care of your teeth every single day. Do you have a specific question about deep cleanings or other dental procedures? Send us a note, or leave us a message in the comments below.