Deep cleaning, as the name suggests, is a more thorough cleaning procedure used by a dental hygienist to treat gum and periodontal disease. With gum disease, the gum margins delineate and regress and the depth of the gum tissue between the gum and the tooth increases. Bacteria are swift to inhabit these pockets and cause plaque buildup which over time accumulates and pushes the gingival tissue down exposing the root of the tooth. The bacteria that form plaque release toxins that are pro-inflammatory and cause periodontal disease. Regular toothbrushes are unable to clean this hardened plaque and that’s where your dentist comes in.
During a consultation, the dental hygienist will use a probe to measure the depth of the pockets that have formed between the gingiva and the tooth, and also look for any other signs of disease. A depth of five millimeters and other findings after a thorough dental evaluation may warrant the need for a deep dental cleaning.
What does the process involve?
Deep cleaning involves two main steps which are namely; scaling and root planing. Scaling involves the removal of plaque and tartar from pockets in between the gum and the tooth and the surface of the tooth itself. Dentists have special tools that they use to breakdown the plaque and clear. The tools include electric or ultrasonic instruments or manual scaling tools. Planing involves the smoothening of the exposed surfaces removing calculus, toxins or microorganisms, what causes inflammation and periodontal disease.
These steps are followed by oral irrigation with chlorhexidine gluconate solution and your dentist may place a specific antibiotic in the pockets. The procedure itself is a meticulous process and requires the utmost attention to detail from the dental hygienist’s part so as to remove all causative agents preventing further periodontal disease progression.
It may take several appointments depending on the patient’s oral health status and disease severity.
What should I do post-procedure?
Deep cleaning is considered successful If the patient’s periodontal health improves with no more gum regression or attachment loss. For the patient, daily oral hygiene must be performed and regular check-ups with your dental hygienist should be scheduled. The preferred interval is around every 90 days, starting with 90 days after the procedure itself. During the appointment, the dentist will assess the pocket depths to determine whether the intervention was indeed successful. If any areas of disease are found, the professional will clean them again and irrigate with an antibiotic solution.