Deep cleaning your teeth

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DEEP cleaning your teeth might sound like something you should do after you’ve missed a few visits to the dentist or eaten a particularly sticky meal, but a deep cleaning is a specific procedure performed by your dental hygienist to treat gum and periodontal disease.

It’s often completed because a person has not had regular professional cleaning appointments every six months.

 

The need for deep cleaning

When going to the dentist, the dental hygienist will use an instrument called a probe to measure the area around your teeth to see if you have any pocketing (area between the tooth and gum where bacteria will form). The depth of the gum tissue between the teeth and gums are called pockets when it is five millimetres or more.

It is recommended that every adult receive a periodontal evaluation each year to determine whether additional treatment is needed. Measuring pocket depth is just one part of a comprehensive dental evaluation.

Ideally, normal healthy pockets will be no more than three millimetres deep. If the pockets are greater than five millimetres, your dentist might prescribe a deep scaling and root planing appointment with the dental hygienist.

 

Deep cleaning process

Deep cleaning is also known in the dental world as scaling and root planing. Scaling involves removing plaque and tartar from the surface of the teeth and from the pocket area between the teeth and gums. The dental hygienist can perform scaling and root planing using either electric, or ultrasonic instruments or manual scaling tools.

The other part of deep cleaning is root planing. The dental hygienist will use a scaling instrument to remove plaque and tartar from the surface of the roots of your teeth. A scaling and root planing procedure will require a minimum of two visits as an appointment.

A follow-up visit may be necessary to confirm that your gums and teeth are getting healthier and there is no pocket depth.

 

Care after scaling and root planing

Ideally, after this deep cleaning appointment, the bacteria in the pockets of the teeth will be removed and in the next few weeks the gums should become healthier if the person is doing oral hygiene every day.

If an additional mouth rinse is required, your dentist might prescribe an antibacterial mouthwash to reduce bacteria in your mouth.

If the deep scaling and three-month visits to the dentist aren’t enough to reverse periodontal disease, seeing a periodontist for a consultation should be required and determination of future treatment in regard to surgery should be considered.

 

Dr Sharon Robinson, DDS, has offices at the Dental Place Cosmetix Spa and is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Technology, Jamaica, School of Oral Health Sciences. She may be contacted at 630-4710. Like their Facebook page, Dental Place Cosmetix Spa.

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