If you have advancing gum disease, you may need a deep cleaning. A deep cleaning (or prophylaxis) aims to remove plaque that is below the gum line. Plaque that is left untreated, leaves you at risk for advanced gingivitis and the eventual loss of your teeth.
Bleeding and inflamed gums are a sign that you are developing gum disease. This is a result of plaque buildup on your teeth near and below the gum line. Your dentist can check and measure the degree of gingivitis. If minor, your condition can be improved with a regular teeth cleaning at your next dentist visit. Your general dentist has the tools to remove plaque that’s visible above the gum line. However, if the plaque is too deep below the gum line, a regular teeth cleaning and home dental care won’t be enough. For this, it may be best to see a periodontist.
Fortunately, we offer advanced periodontal care at Southern Colorado Periodontics & Implants here, in Colorado Springs, CO. If you’re experiencing bleeding and inflamed gums, contact our office to schedule a periodontal exam. We’ll help get you back to a healthier smile in no time!
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Keep reading to learn more about prophylaxis …
The fact is, plaque build-up on your teeth is largely inevitable. Even if you brush and floss regularly. Some level of plaque is still likely to build up on your teeth over time. And the plaque, untreated, will eventually decay teeth and infect gum tissue. That’s why it’s important to visit your dentist regularly for regular teeth cleanings. But if it’s perhaps been too long since your last regular cleaning, well, you might need more help …
What Is a Deep Cleaning?
Deep cleaning is a dental procedure that thoroughly removes all bacteria on the teeth. This treatment is also called prophylaxis because it is largely a preventative measure. A deep cleaning is similar to your regular dental cleaning. However, it may take slightly longer and it may clean more of the surface of the tooth. Steps of a deep cleaning treatment include:
- X-rays to assess the extent of the damage and create a treatment plan
- Supragingival cleaning to clean the area above the gumline
- Subgingival cleaning to clear out bacteria and buildup in pockets underneath the gums
- Root planing to remove any lingering bacteria on the root of the tooth
- Prescription of antibiotic and antimicrobial medication
Some deep cleanings may involve cleaning the area below the gumline. In cases where there is a lot of infection to remove, deep cleaning may include treatments like root scaling. This sort of deep cleaning can clean portions of the tooth root and remove pockets of infection. Deep cleaning is usually done while the patient is conscious. However, if you are nervous or concerned about pain, anesthetic is possible.
Who Needs Deep Teeth Cleaning?
Even patients with healthy teeth will need a basic dental cleaning every six months. If you have chronic oral health problems, your dentist might suggest you get a cleaning every three months. A deep cleaning can happen at your regular cleaning, or it can happen as its own separate appointment.
More intensive cleaning is not something you need multiple times a year. Usually, your doctor will just recommend prophylaxis treatments if you have periodontal disease. Signs you might need a deep cleaning include:
- Your gums look red and swollen.
- You have unexplained, chronic bad breath.
- Your teeth or your gums feel painful and sensitive.
- You notice that your teeth feel loose.
- You have thick, yellow calculus at the base of each tooth.
- Your gums bleed when you floss or eat.
The main benefit of deep teeth cleaning is that it removes buildup and bacteria. It is important to remove all of this buildup because it contributes to major health issues. Without a deep cleaning, patients end up with serious inflammation and cavities. Eventually, this can lead to tooth loss. Therefore, it is very important to get prophylaxis at the first sign of gum disease.
Next, deep cleaning helps improve your confidence by boosting aesthetics. It can remove deep yellow stains that would otherwise distract from your smile. Another benefit of deep cleaning is that it can treat halitosis, or chronic bad breath. Finally, just like a regular cleaning, a deep cleaning can help your dentist spot oral issues.
Things to Know
Though deep cleaning is mostly a beneficial procedure, it does have some potential risks. For most patients, the primary downside is simply that there can be some pain and sensitivity in the days following the procedure. There is also a risk of infection after the treatment if you do not follow your doctor’s aftercare instructions. Finally, deep cleaning can cause gum recession if you get it too often. For most patients, the benefits will outweigh these risks.
Cost of Deep Cleaning
Depending on things like location and your oral health, deep cleanings can cost somewhere from around $200 to $500. The average deep cleaning costs around $330. This can save you thousands of dollars in later dental work. Deep cleanings are usually covered by insurance. With help from your insurance, you might just have to pay a small copay or coinsurance for the procedure.
Does a Deep Cleaning Provide Real Results?
Most patients who get scaling and other deep cleaning treatments express satisfaction with the procedure. Despite some complaints about sensitivity, patients reported that they were happy with the eventual outcome. Research finds that deep cleaning treatments can ultimately assist with early stages of periodontitis and reduce infection and gum recession.
As you can see, dental cleanings are a very useful procedure that can reverse the effects of gum disease. Remembering to schedule your cleaning will ensure your smile stays as strong, healthy, and beautiful as possible. Southern Colorado Periodontics & Implants is happy to offer both regular cleanings and deep cleanings. Contact us now to schedule your next appointment.