You go to the dentist – it may have been a while, what with life getting in the way. Still, you brushed your teeth and flossed, so everything should still be OK, right? Not necessarily. Due to not having someone scrape plaque off the top of your gumline, that bacteria has now gotten underneath and formed pockets of hardened plaque, which is called tartar. It can start off mild, with gingivitis. The good news is that gingivitis can be reversed. Once it’s progressed to periodontitis, the dentist will likely call for a deep cleaning or by another term: scaling and root planing.
So what is it? This procedure starts off very similar to your regular cleaning, but it goes further and more in-depth in your mouth.
The way that this is determined is by having the dentist probe your mouth with a special instrument. It can detect how deep any pockets have formed in your gums. Anything three millimeters or less is no cause for concern. Once they find something greater than four millimeters, there’s a good chance that tartar has formed. It’s time for get rid of that.
Once the presence of gum disease has been detected, it’s very important that the dentist do the deep cleaning. That’s because the regular cleaning cannot get down under the gumline. Only by doing this can the tartar be removed and allow for the gums to heal properly. Not doing this can let the gum disease progress unchecked and lead to possible tooth loss or having bacteria enter your bloodstream and affect your overall health.
Once you’ve made your way to the dentist’s chair, be sure to mention any conditions or medications that you have. Also discuss any possible allergies to things like latex. The dentist will adjust their plan accordingly.
Without anesthesia of some sort, this can be painful – most of it stemming from the tenderness of the already affected gums. The dentist will likely work on your mouth in quadrants, since it can be quite uncomfortable to have a whole face numbed up. Dental insurance may only cover having those quadrants done one at a time, so this is the best way to have it done… though it may require two or more appointments.
The dentist will use instruments to go under the gumline and get all the tartar that has accumulated underneath. It may be with a conventional scaler or they may even use things like lasers, which can have less bleeding and swelling. Using the second way requires extra training on the dentist’s part.
Now the dentist or hygienist will tackle the problem of plaque and tartar that is around the root of the tooth. They will remove that and then they will smooth out the root so that it can heal properly and that the gums can also recover. Also, it can help patients who have had bad breath, since the bacteria that causes it will be removed. The dentists usually does a fluoride treatment at the end. You may need a microbial mouthwash to keep the bacteria at bay.
This is the first line of defense that your dentist will use in the effort to stop gum disease in its tracks. It depends on how advanced it is… if the deep cleaning does not work, then other options will become necessary, like surgery.
Once it’s finished, the dentist may want you to have follow-up appointments every three months until they are sure that your teeth and gums are healthy again and that you’re not at risk to get gum disease again. You need to be diligent with your brushing and flossing from there on out.
Dr. Shaista Najmi and the staff at Ivory Dental Jacksonville are experts at making sure that the whole deep cleaning process goes as smoothly as possible. They will put every patient at ease from the moment that they walk in. Make an appointment today!