What Is a Deep Dental Cleaning and Why Would I Need One?

Apr 04, 2023
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Want to avoid dental issues and tooth loss? You need to practice good oral hygiene, which means regular brushing, flossing, and professional cleanings. But, what if your dentist says you need a deep dental cleaning? Here’s what you should know.

When your dentist says you need a deep dental cleaning, it means there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is you have excess plaque and tartar buildup, which puts you at risk of developing gum disease. The good news is a deep cleaning can correct the problem and restore your smile and oral health.

Robert A. Scherrer, DMD, who brings more than 35 years of experience to Advanced Dental Care of Ridgewood, is an expert in treating many dental issues. In this blog, he explains why he might recommend a deep dental cleaning and what you can expect from the process.

Regular cleanings vs. deep cleanings

It’s easy to assume that a deep cleaning happens during your regular dental exams. However, a deep cleaning is actually far more involved.

The technical name for a “deep cleaning” is scaling and root planing. While a routine dental cleaning focuses on removing plaque and tartar above and near the gum line, scaling and root planing goes much deeper. 

This treatment thoroughly cleans your teeth above and below the gum line, removing plaque and tartar all the way down to the roots of your teeth.

The problem with gum disease

Even with dedicated brushing and flossing, it’s completely normal to have some plaque and tartar buildup, because these substances can build up in hard-to-reach places. However, that’s where professional cleanings come into play. These routine visits can take care of buildup in these areas. 

Gum disease occurs when a film of sticky bacteria — known as plaque — collects on your teeth and under your gum line. If ignored, it hardens into tartar, which is more difficult to remove.

The longer this bacteria stays on your teeth and underneath your gums, the more damage it can do. Not only can it lead to deep infections in your gum tissue and bones, but it can increase your chances of tooth loss and increase your chances of other health problems, including coronary artery disease.

In the early stages of gum disease, a professional cleaning can often take care of the problem. However, if the condition progresses, a deep cleaning is often the best course of action to restore your oral health.

What to expect during a deep cleaning

Deep cleanings can vary from person to person, depending on the extent of the infection and tartar buildup. They often take 1-2 hours, and you may need more than one visit.

First, we numb your gums to keep you comfortable. Then, we use ultrasonic and manual scalers to chip away at the tartar and flush it from your gums. 

After removing the tartar from your teeth, we gently move your gum tissue aside to expose the roots of your teeth. Then, we use the ultrasonic and manual scaling tools to clean tartar from these areas, too. In some cases, we also administer antibiotic medications directly to pockets of gum tissue.

It’s common to experience some minor swelling, bleeding, and sensitivity for 5-7 days after your procedure. However, you can usually ease your symptoms with warm saltwater rinses and over-the-counter pain relievers.

You also need to follow Dr. Scherrer’s brushing and flossing recommendations to support the healing process and reduce additional gum inflammation.

Could you need a deep cleaning? Don’t put your teeth and oral health at risk. To get a dental exam, call 201-622-7385 or book an appointment online with Advanced Dental Care of Ridgewood today.