Yes! Everyone, no matter how well they brush and floss, will eventually need a deep cleaning!
More than four in five Americans have some level of gum disease, which can lead to eventual tooth loss if left untreated. Sometimes your dentist may prescribe a deep cleaning for your teeth which is usually performed by a periodontist. Usually this happens when there are visible signs of gum disease, such as swollen or red gums, dental pockets between teeth and gums and even mild cases of gum bleeding while brushing or flossing.
A typical dental cleaning session involves using a mechanical planer to clean all the surfaces of the tooth crown—that part of your teeth that visible outside the gum line. If you have dental pockets and other signs of gum disease, a typical cleaning may not be sufficient and you will be prescribed a deep cleaning session.
During a deep cleaning session, the dentist reaches under the gums to clean the teeth roots; besides cleaning the teeth crowns as with a typical dental cleaning. A deep clean can rid you of food debris that has lodged itself underneath the gums as well as plaque, spots of infection referred to as barnacles that adhere to the tooth root and pockets of infection that occur when gums separate themselves from teeth in infected areas.
A deep cleaning session may involve cleaning root surfaces using ultrasonic and hand equipment. Ultra sonic equipment helps clean the teeth without wearing out too much of the tooth root surface. The mechanical planers used on tooth surfaces above the gum line cannot be used to clean parts of your teeth that lie below the gums. Cleaning this part of your teeth can be tricky if there are cracks, grooves, fissures or other issues below the gums. Smoothing out areas is called as root scaling.
At a typical deep cleaning session, you can expect:
A plaque evaluation, which is sometimes referred to as disclosion;
Instructions on maintaining oral hygiene;
Use of probing depth measurements;
Registration of bleeding during the probing;
Scaling your teeth for removing plaque;
Polishing of teeth;
Application of fluoride;
A radiograph if required.
The goal of all this is to identify and treat any signs of recurring gum disease. The ultimate goal is to ensure your teeth and gums are healthy, and gums are well attached to teeth, without pockets of infection between teeth and gums.
A typical deep cleaning session may require more than one visit.
Research findings show that periodic deep cleaning sessions, combined with a routine of effective daily self cleaning of plaque helps keep gum disease under control. Daily routines alone are not sufficient to help maintain healthy gums in those who have gum problems. You may also be prescribed with mouth wash or medications such as oral antibiotics, depending on severity of gum disease.
How often you may need maintenance visits involving deep cleaning depends on the condition of your teeth and gums. Typically a routine dental cleaning session every six months would be sufficient to keep your teeth and gums in good health. But, those with signs of or advanced levels of gum disease may be asked to get deep cleaning sessions more frequently.