Deep Cleaning – A Small Step to Complete Protection
Superficially cleaning your teeth daily doesn’t necessarily eliminate chances of bacterial growth. Even if your teeth look perfect from the outside most people tend to have swollen gums, bleeding gums, pain, or inflammation. This is mostly due to the bacterial attack on the gums.
Like a glacier in the water, your teeth extend below your gums. The foundation and strength of your teeth cannot be seen topically. Under the gums is the root of your teeth that is embedded into your jawbone. This is where the periodontal disease gets started. Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection that destroys the support and structure of your teeth. This is mostly due to bacterial attack on the gums. Dentists always recommend bi-annual or at least an annual visit to identify and fight such issues before it worsens.
At the dental clinic, a dentist will examine your teeth and gums to find any ‘pocketing’ between your teeth. The space between your teeth and gums is called ‘pockets’. A healthy pocket size should range from 0-1 mm, whereas having a 2-3 mm pocket is called gingivitis. When the depth of the gum tissue between the teeth and gums is 5 mm or more this would be considered the next stage of gum recession. This is the space where the bacteria are formed, which leads to gum bleeding and swelling. Once the dentist or dental hygienist identifies any 5 mm or more deep pockets, he then advises undergoing deep cleaning. There are cases where reading is 6-10 mm. This is an advanced periodontal disease that can lead to bone loss. Periodontal disease may be caused by many reasons, mainly poor oral hygiene, diabetes, pregnancy, puberty, genetics, medications, chewing tobacco, smoking, or even stress.
Deep Cleaning is a non-surgical periodontal therapy which includes a combination of ‘scaling’ and ‘root planing’. It is generally done together simultaneously so it’s best termed as deep cleaning. Scaling is the process of removing any tartar deposit of plaque on the teeth and the pocket area between the teeth and the gums. Root planing is the clearing of plaque on the surface of the root and restoring the health of the gums. Scaling and root planing are done using either electronic or ultrasonic instruments or manual scaling tools. It takes a maximum of two sittings for deep cleaning. Some dentists schedule it in three or four short sittings. After the deep cleaning procedure, your dentist / dental hygienist will want to see you every 3-4 months for maintenance appointments called periodontal maintenance.
Find Out Your Family History
Just as your physician inquires about the family history regarding diseases and allergies on your visits, it is always good and very much important to know the dental history of your family. The dentist may discover whether you have a genetic proclivity towards gum disease. Such information will always help your dentist when offering you dental treatments.
Is Antibiotic Necessary for Deep Cleaning?
Bacteria that attacks your mouth can attack our body as well. When a deep cleaning procedure allows the bacteria to enter the bloodstream this is called bacteremia. Generally, a healthy immune system prevents this bacteria from causing any harm to your body. When you have a deep cleaning procedure, the bacteria that is in your mouth can get into the bloodstream after the procedure. For certain groups of people, there is concern that this bacteria could cause an infection elsewhere in the body. In such cases, antibiotic is recommended post-cleaning.
Why Deep Cleanings Are Necessary
Deep cleanings are very important for two reasons:
- To prevent diseases like heart disease, dementia, and complications of diabetes
- To prevent tooth loss
The reason deep cleaning is important is that your body sees the tartar and plaque as a foreign invader. As with any other foreign invader, like flu or an infection, your body used the immune system to fight off the infection. Your immune system is capable to fight off infection for a short period of time. Extreme activation of the immune system can lead to diseases in the rest of your body. This is the reason why preventing gum disease reduces the risk of stroke, heart disease, and dementia.
After the Deep Cleaning
Deep Cleaning is not a permanent solution to your dental hygiene. It is the detailed professional cleaning that completes the daily oral hygiene routine, as listed below:
- Brushing and flossing after meals, or at least twice per day.
- Using an antibacterial mouthwash
- Eating a diet rich in vegetables
- Making an appointment every three months if you have gum disease, or every six months if you don’t have gum disease.
Remember, gum disease is easy to prevent, but difficult to get rid of. With deep cleaning done, you have happy healthy gums and it will keep your teeth longer and avoid health problems associated with periodontal disease.