What is a Deep Cleaning and How do I Know if I Need One?

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If your dentist recommends a deep cleaning, you might think you just need to brush your teeth a little harder after your next meal or wonder how that’s different from the regular cleaning you get from a hygienist at a checkup. However, a deep cleaning means something very different.

A deep cleaning is a specific treatment designed to clean between your gums and teeth all the way down to the roots. If your dentist is recommending this procedure, you’re in danger of serious gum disease, and you need an intervention to prevent it from getting worse.

At Dentistry Optimized in Inver Grove Heights, Dr. Norman Coates has performed hundreds of deep cleanings over the years. Keep reading to find out more from Dr. Coates about deep cleaning and why it may be necessary for you.

What is a deep cleaning?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, half of Americans age 30 and over have periodontitis (an advanced form of gum disease). This is almost 65 million Americans. Deep cleaning, also known as gum therapy or root planing and scaling, is designed to keep that number from getting higher.

Your regular, twice-a-year dental cleanings help remove the plaque and tartar that has built up on your teeth. If, however, you don’t practice good dental hygiene, or if you have a genetic predisposition to gum disease, the plaque and tartar can build up all the way down to the roots of your teeth below your gum line.

If left untreated, this can lead first to gingivitis (red, bleeding gums), and eventually to periodontitis, which can, in turn, lead to bone and tooth loss. Deep cleaning includes two stages: scaling or removing plaque and tartar from the teeth and from pockets of infection that form between your teeth and gums; and root planing, which involves scraping the plaque and tartar from the roots of your teeth.

A deep cleaning treatment usually takes at least two office visits to complete, depending on the severity of your condition. Dr. Coates may divide the procedure into sections, treating one side of your mouth during your first appointment and the other during the second.

Do you really need a deep cleaning?

To determine if you need a deep cleaning, your dentist will check the depth of the pockets of bacteria and infection that have formed between your teeth and gums. If you have early, mild signs of gum disease, your dentist may recommend better at-home hygiene and more frequent dental checkups. However, if the pockets are greater than 4 or 5 millimeters, they will likely recommend a deep cleaning.

If they do recommend this treatment, it’s in your best interest to take care of it now before it gets worse. Advanced gum disease can lead to tooth loss, and the potential complications aren’t limited to your teeth and gums. Research has shown links between gum disease and more serious problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.

If you think you may need a deep cleaning, contact Dentistry Optimized for all your dental needs. Dr. Coates and his expert team will provide just the care you need. Call the office or use the convenient online scheduler to book your own appointment, and you’ll be well on your way to healthy teeth!