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Deep Teeth Cleaning: About our Periodontal Disease Treatments

Thursday - September 21st, 2017
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Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is an infection of the gums caused by oral bacteria — the same bacteria that causes cavities and tooth decay. When the bacteria builds up in the mouth, especially under and along the gumline, it can lead to inflammation and an array of other symptoms including sensitivity, redness, bleeding gums after brushing, and bad breath. 

Periodontal disease develops over four stages:

  1. Gingivitis. This early stage of gum disease is characterized by mild inflammation, some soreness, and bleeding after brushing or flossing. It is caused by a buildup of plaque and tartar along the gums but can be reversed with improved dental hygiene.
  2. Periodontitis. The second stage of gum disease starts to affect the ligaments and tissues that anchor your teeth into your jawbone. 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. Moderate periodontitis. At this third stage, the ligaments that anchor your teeth into the jaw bone have been completely destroyed by infectious bacteria. The gum tissue is severely infected and teeth become loose in their sockets. Surgical treatment will likely be necessary.
  4. Advanced periodontitis. Teeth are at risk of falling out, the infection may have spread to other parts of the body, and the jaw bone may be deteriorating. The majority of treatment options may be ineffective at this point, leaving tooth extraction and replacement as the last resort to preserve oral health.

Dental Deep Cleanings Prevent the Progression of Gum Disease

Dental deep cleanings, also referred to as tooth scaling and root planing, are a common and effective treatment method for addressing periodontitis in its early stages. Dental deep cleanings are essentially more intense dental cleanings that remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria buildup that is hidden beneath the gums. They are often followed by a prescribed antibacterial mouthwash to help prevent infection.

What to Expect During a Dental Deep Cleaning

Knowing what to expect can make a scaling and root planing procedure less intimidating. 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 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 dental deep cleanings will be conducted over at least two appointments that could last an hour or more each.

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.

Does dental deep cleaning hurt?

Because the dentist will apply a local anesthetic–as an injection or topically–dental deep cleanings may be uncomfortable, but they shouldn’t be painful. You may experience some sensitivity or soreness after the procedure, as well as some slight bleeding when you brush, but these should subside within a few weeks.

What to Expect After a Dental Deep Cleaning

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, then slowly start introducing somewhat harder foods like bread and rice back into your diet. Within two or three weeks, swelling, bleeding, soreness, or redness should start to subside, and you should be able to comfortably eat crunchy and chewy foods again. If you are experiencing discomfort that makes it hard to chew or talk, taking over-the-counter pain medication as directed can help.

Your dentist will likely recommend rinsing your mouth with warm salt water a few times per day after your procedure to kill any lingering oral bacteria and relieve inflammation. You may also be prescribed antibiotics or an antibacterial mouth rinse, especially if you are immunocompromised or are in a high-risk category for developing an infection. 

Good oral hygiene is very important following a dental deep cleaning. 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 sore areas. 

You should also be sure to attend any follow-up appointments after your procedure and schedule routine cleanings and checkups every six months. These appointments are essential for removing tartar from your teeth, which goes a long way toward helping 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.

Can I smoke after a dental deep cleaning?

If you do smoke, you should avoid smoking for at least 72 hours after your deep cleaning procedure. However, because tobacco smoke dries out the mouth, allowing bacteria to thrive, you should be aware that smoking increases not only your chance of developing gum disease but of it returning even after a deep cleaning. Quitting is best for your dental and overall health, but it can be difficult; consider speaking with your dentist or doctor about ways you may be able to start quitting.

Does dental deep cleaning get rid of bad breath?

Persistent bad breath, or halitosis, is a common symptom of gum disease, caused by an accumulation of oral bacteria that is producing smelly sulfur compounds. Halitosis is characterized by bad breath that sticks around even after you brush and floss your teeth. By removing plaque, tartar, and bacteria buildup from between teeth and under the gumline, dental deep cleanings can help significantly reduce chronic bad breath. However, good daily oral hygiene is still important for keeping bad breath at bay.

If you still have bad breath after a dental deep cleaning, your halitosis may be a sign of something other than gum disease, such as stomach problems like acid reflux disease or sinus problems.

Dental Deep Cleanings from Monarch Dental

Gingivitis and gum disease are largely preventable, and early treatment is paramount to protecting both your oral and your overall health, as well as avoiding costly procedures down the road. Dental deep cleanings from Monarch Dental can help treat your early-stage gum disease, reverse the symptoms, and get you back on track with good oral hygiene. We also offer routine care like cleanings and checkups and treatments for advanced stages of gum disease, including periodontal, oral, and implant surgery.

Find the Monarch Dental location nearest you to schedule an appointment and find out if you are a good candidate for dental deep cleanings.