If you have gum disease, you might already be anxious about getting a deep cleaning. After all, the name alone sounds uncomfortable. How can it NOT hurt to clean deep under the gums?
It’s actually far less painful than it sounds. The true name of the procedure is a periodontal scaling and root planing.
What Happens During a Deep Cleaning
A deep cleaning is when your dentist or hygienist smooths out the roots of teeth using specially-designed hand tools.
The small edges lift off tartar and bacteria embedded across the tooth roots in tiny increments. While this happens, you may feel a slight tugging sensation and pressure on your tooth, but don’t worry – the tooth isn’t going anywhere!
What about the fact that the tools have to slip below the gums?
Gums lose their attachment to teeth when they’re swollen and infected, creating “pockets” that trap buildup like bacteria and tartar. This debris builds up on tooth roots as far down as the gum pockets extend.
During a deep cleaning, the instruments only go down as deep as the base of the gum pockets.
You may notice some bleeding during the procedure, but it’s not painful. All that swollen gum tissue is loaded with tiny capillaries that bleed instantly when bumped. This side-effect only serves as yet another indicator that you really needed the treatment!
For Your Comfort
If necessary, you can have local anesthesia, topical numbing jelly, or mild sedation to get through your root planing. But you’re likely to find that the only difficult part is keeping your mouth open for the procedure! Taking breaks as needed or using a small, soft prop can help you out.
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