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Deep Cleaning Your Teeth: When Should You Do It?

The question of when to deep clean your teeth may be answered depending upon the current health of your teeth and gums. Deep cleaning is typically necessary as a means for treating various forms of periodontal disease. More to the point, a regular cleaning may not just be insufficient for the proper care of your […]

The question of when to deep clean your teeth may be answered depending upon the current health of your teeth and gums. Deep cleaning is typically necessary as a means for treating various forms of periodontal disease.

More to the point, a regular cleaning may not just be insufficient for the proper care of your teeth, but your dentist might actually refuse to treat you unless you are given a deep cleaning in the office first.

For patients who have not been to a dental appointment in six months or longer, a deep cleaning may be the way to go. This is not true in all cases, but it could be the preferred procedure recommended by your dental professional.

Periodontal Disease

Patients who have obvious symptoms of periodontitis or other significant gum disease may be denied a regular cleaning in lieu of something more comprehensive and ultimately safer for the patient.

When periodontitis is apparent that means there are signs of a chronic infection in the mouth where significant amounts of bacteria have grown and gathered inside of pockets beneath the gum line. These areas can be identified by major amounts of plaque which produce strong acids that can start to eat away at tooth enamel and bone tissue.

If this disease is left to fester it can result in serious tooth and bone loss. There is no way to recover that material once it has been eroded.

But when a regular cleaning is performed that can actually exacerbate the problem by impacting the pockets of bacteria and driving them deeper into your blood and circulatory system. This is due to the fact that a regular cleaning is designed for a surface level clean, a deeper cleaning goes much deeper by eliminating the bacteria that has settled in.

Deep Cleaning


Before any work is finished, the dentist will first analyze any pockets that exist between the tooth and the gum to ascertain how much bacteria, if any, has gathered within them. If “pocketing” has occurred, then performing a regular cleaning may not be in your best interests.

That is when you should have a deep cleaning procedure performed instead. Pocket depth is a strong indicator as to the decision being made between a regular and deep cleaning. Pockets which are normal and healthy are typically no deeper than approximately three millimeters.

However, any pockets with a depth near five millimeters might require special attention so as to maintain good dental hygiene.

Methods and Techniques

The two most common forms of deep cleaning are called scaling and root planing. While these terms may sound slightly intimidating, they are each extremely effective in ensuring the long-term health and vitality of your teeth and gums.

Scaling is a process where the dentist eliminates accumulations of plaque and tartar from the front of the teeth as well as the pocket between the teeth and the gum line.

Root planing is a little more intensive as it requires the dentist to do scaling from the surface of the roots of the teeth. The procedure goes beyond the surface for a much deeper cleaning.

Either of these processes can be performed using electric, ultrasonic, or manual equipment and the type your dentist uses may depend on the extent of the infection and the depth of your pocketing.

These procedures are not usually brief, both of these treatments will typically require you to make at least two visits to the dentist. This ensures that all of the bacteria is eliminated and your dentist can check to see if the infection has been removed completely and your teeth and gums are healing well, with a reduction in the depth of your pocketing.

Post-Procedural Recommendations


Once your procedures are complete, there are going to be some steps you’ll need to take to help support the work that your dentist has done. After the cleaning, all bacteria will have been eliminated and you can start down the road to recovery.

But in order to help your teeth and gums heal correctly and reduce the possibility of the recurrence of infection, you need to practice dedicated, exceptional dental hygiene habits.

That means brushing after every meal and rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash. Some over the counter versions are sufficient, but your dentist may need you to rinse with something a little stronger. In either case, follow your dentist’s prescribed post-procedural direction.

For more information about deep cleaning or to schedule an appointment with one of the dentists at Midlothian Family Dentistry, please visit http://dentistrichmond.com/“>http://dentistrichmond.com/ We can help diagnose and treat any dental issues you may be experiencing.

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