Dental Care: What Is A Deep Cleaning?

If you have gum disease, your dentist might have recommended getting a deep cleaning. This is a little more complex than a regular cleaning as it gets deeper below the gum line to remove plaque and tartar. Here are some things to know about this type of cleaning.

When You Need a Deep Cleaning

The first thing you should know is when you might be a good candidate for a deep cleaning. This type of cleaning is usually done when you have more than just the normal amount of plaque or tartar on your teeth. If your dentist finds signs that you have one of the more advanced forms of gum disease, the deep cleaning is often the procedure you will get. The longer you go with tartar and plaque on your teeth, the worse they are going to get. This causes an infection of the gums that will affect your oral health and breath. The cleaning can also make it more comfortable for you where the gums meet the teeth. If you press gently on your gums and there is a stinging sensation, it is probably from a buildup of plaque underneath the gum line on the teeth that is building up, which is what you feel when pressing on them. This is a good indication that you are in need of the deep cleaning procedure.

How a Deep Cleaning is Performed

When you get a deep cleaning, it will typically begin by numbing the area. As opposed to a traditional dental cleaning which doesn't usually require numbing your teeth, the scaling and root planing procedure is a little different. Since the dentist goes further down below your tooth surface and down to the roots of the teeth, numbing is important. The procedure will begin with the scaling process, which is similar to a regular cleaning. The dentist uses a special scaling tool or ultrasonic tool to remove plaque and tartar from the tooth surface, including under the gum line. They will then perform root planing where tartar is removed from the roots of the teeth. You may need to return for a second visit in order to finish the cleaning fully.

What the Recovery Process is Like

You will be sore when you return home from your deep cleaning appointment. Follow the dentist's instructions with how to keep your mouth clean and how to stave off infection. You may be given antibiotics to avoid infection and a special type of toothbrush and toothpaste to use for sensitive gums and teeth. It is not uncommon to be prescribed some pain killers and antibiotic mouthwash to use after the procedure. Let your dentist know if the discomfort after the deep cleaning worsens. Contact a periodontist in your area for more information.