If you’ve been told by your dentist that you need a deep cleaning, be prepared for a lengthy procedure that can sometimes take two appointments. After all, it took awhile for the plaque to build up along your gum line and it’s going to take time to remove it.
Commonly referred to as deep cleaning, the process is technically called scaling and root planing. It is a procedure often done by a periodontist and one of the main methods of treating periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is caused by the build-up of tartar and plaque around the gum line. If the periodontal disease has progressed, your gums may be inflamed and may even be receding.
During the procedure, the doctor may use a local anesthesia to avoid any potential pain. Then, he will use a special scaling tool to remove the hardened mineral deposits from the teeth and gum line. In worse cases, a planing tool is used to clean deep below the gum line and into the roots. Alternately, some dentists will use an ultrasonic device to do both scaling and planing.
Depending on the extent of tartar buildup, another session may be needed to clean, say, the upper teeth. The periodontist might place antibiotic fibers between the teeth to prevent infection, which tends to be the biggest risk in this type of procedure.
If the cleaning goes well, the gums will eventually go back into their proper place, and with good dental hygiene in the aftermath, there is a good chance the risk of periodontal disease will be greatly reduced.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Eberhard, Mockingbird Dental Associates
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