Dental Blog

Deep Teeth Cleaning: About our Periodontal Disease Treatments

Thursday, September 21, 2017
deep-cleaning-periodontal-disease

You’ve probably heard the advice to brush and floss your teeth over and over again. The goal of this oral hygiene routine is to keep your teeth in good shape, but proper dental hygiene also protects your gums. Patients who do not follow proper dental care routines are especially prone to a condition called periodontal disease, or gum disease. In its early stages, gum disease can often be treated with better oral hygiene habits, but as it becomes more serious, a deep cleaning procedure performed by your local dentist becomes necessary in order to restore your gums to good health.

What Is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is an infection of the gums by oral bacteria — the same bacteria that cause cavities and tooth decay. The bacteria lead to inflammation and an array of other symptoms including sensitivity, redness, bleeding after brushing, and bad breath. The bad breath caused by periodontal disease does not typically go away even with brushing and mouthwash.

There are actually three stages of periodontal disease, which are as follows:

  1. Gingivitis: This early stage of gum disease causes mild inflammation, some soreness, and bleeding after brushing or flossing.
  2. Periodontitis: The second stage of gum disease starts to affect the ligaments and tissues that anchor your teeth into your jaw bone. Symptoms become more serious and professional treatment is required to reverse the condition at this stage. Pockets begin forming between the teeth and the gums, which makes it hard to remove oral bacteria even with brushing and antiseptic mouthwash.
  3. Advanced Periodontitis: At this third stage, the ligaments that anchor your teeth into the jaw bone have been completely destroyed by infectious bacteria.

Gum disease is common in patients who do not brush and floss thoroughly, and in those who do not schedule regular cleaning appointments with their dental hygienist. Certain people are at an increased risk of gum disease due to other factors.

This condition is very common in smokers because the tobacco smoke dries the mouth out, allowing bacteria to thrive. Patients taking medications like anti-anxiety pills, antihistamines, and decongestants are also at an increased risk of gum disease because these drugs cause dry mouth as a side effect. Gum disease is also common in pregnant women and women going through menopause because varying hormonal levels can make the body less effective at fighting off oral bacteria.

Why Is Periodontal Disease Treatment So Important?

The earlier you detect and treat gum disease, the better. If you only have gingivitis, improving your oral hygiene routine and having a professional dental cleaning to remove tartar from the gum line is often sufficient to heal the gums. However, by the time periodontitis sets in, professional treatment is required. Tartar, a hardened form of plaque, is generally present below the gum line of patients with periodontitis. Tartar is laden with bacteria, and it will not come away from the teeth with just brushing and flossing; it has to be removed by a dentist.

If gum disease is allowed to carry on without treatment, the teeth will begin loosening in the jaw as the periodontal ligaments that anchor them in place begin decaying further and further. Eventually, advanced-stage periodontitis will lead to tooth loss.

How Do Dentists Treat Periodontal Disease?

If your local Monarch dentist confirms that you have gum disease, they will likely recommend a deep cleaning procedure to remove the tartar and bacteria from below your gum line. This type of procedure is also called scaling and root planing. This is a more intensive procedure than a regular dental cleaning. Standard dental cleaning procedures focus on cleaning the portion of the tooth that is exposed above the gums. Deep cleaning procedures address the part of the tooth that is hidden beneath the gums. Your Monarch dentist will administer a local anesthetic to keep you comfortable during your deep cleaning procedure. Antibiotics are generally prescribed to further help fight the bacteria infection and prevent it from spreading after your scaling and root planing procedure.

Knowing what to expect can make a scaling and root planing procedure less worrisome. Usually, your dentist will begin by applying a numbing gel to your gums, and then injecting a local anesthetic into your gums at several spots in order to make your gums numb. Then, he or she will begin using a series of scraping tools, similar to those used in a standard dental cleaning, to scrape away the tartar beneath your gum line. You should not feel any pain during this process since your mouth will be numb, though you will feel some vibrations from the scraping. If your periodontal disease is serious and there is a lot of tartar buildup, your dentist may only treat half or one quadrant of your mouth per appointment. This means you’ll have to return to the office a few more times to have the rest of your teeth deep cleaned. Most patients report that dental scaling and planing is not nearly as painful or scary as it sounds.

If large pockets have formed between your teeth and gums, your dentist may also perform what is called pocket reduction surgery during your deep cleaning procedure. He or she will remove the gum tissue so that it sits closer to the tooth and then put a few stitches in the tissue to hold it in place. Pocket reduction helps keep gum disease from returning since it stops bacteria and food particles from getting trapped in the periodontal pockets.

What to Expect After a Deep Cleaning Treatment

After a deep cleaning procedure, you can expect your gums and teeth to be a bit sensitive for a few days. Sticking to soft foods and avoiding overly hot or cold beverages can help ease the discomfort. Start with very soft foods like mashed potatoes, yogurt, and applesauce, and slowly start working somewhat harder foods like bread and rice back into your diet. Within two or three weeks, you should be able to comfortably eat crunchy and chewy foods again.

Your local dentist will likely recommend rinsing your mouth with warm salt water a few times per day. This helps kill any lingering oral bacteria and relieve inflammation. You will need to continue brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily to keep oral bacteria at bay and encourage your gums to continue healing. Use a soft toothbrush and do not apply too much pressure to the areas that are sore. If you are experiencing discomfort that makes it hard to chew or talk, taking a dose of ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help. If you are a smoker, make sure you avoid smoking for at least 72 hours after your deep cleaning procedure. Quitting altogether, of course, is the best thing to do since smoking can cause gum disease to return again and again.

If your dentist prescribes antibiotics to take after your deep cleaning procedure, make sure you take them on-schedule and until the entire prescribed bottle is gone. Quitting your antibiotics early can contribute to the return of gum disease. As your gums heal following the procedure, you should notice that the soreness, redness, and bleeding begin to subside. Your dentist will likely want to schedule a follow-up appointment to re-evaluate your teeth and gums a few weeks after your deep cleaning procedure.

Following periodontal disease treatment, it’s essential that you practice good oral hygiene to prevent the gum disease from coming back. Brush your teeth twice per day for a full two minutes. Use a timer to make sure you are brushing long enough, and really focus on brushing the areas where your teeth meet your gums. Many patients find it easier to brush thoroughly with an electric toothbrush.

If you struggle to use regular floss, dental flossers or floss picks can make flossing a lot easier. Keep a few in your car for mornings when you forget to floss before leaving the house. Also make sure you are scheduling regular dental cleaning appointments with your hygienist. These appointments are essential for removing tartar from your teeth, which goes a long way towards helping to prevent gum disease. Your hygienist will also notice any early signs of gum disease so that you can treat it early on if it does return.

Dentist Near Me

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of gum disease, from redness to bleeding while brushing, schedule a checkup with a local dentist as soon as possible. Your Monarch dentist can evaluate the severity of your gum disease and let you know if a deep cleaning procedure is the best course of action. Keep in mind that deep cleaning often takes place over a series of two to four appointments, but your time spent in the dentist’s chair is well worth it since it can prevent tooth loss down the road. Give us a call at 1-844-800-7645 for same day appointments and payment plans!