A Deep cleaning is a routine procedure performed by your dentist to treat gum disease and excessive plaque buildup. While standard cleaning only involves cleaning the surface of the teeth, deep cleaning goes below the gumline. Also called scaling and root planing, this treatment goes beyond the usual general cleaning you receive during your regular check-up.
Why Is It Necessary?
It’s normal to experience some form of plaque buildup. Your mouth contains bacteria that collect on your teeth’s surface and create this bacterial film which starts at the gumline. This is completely normal and to be expected. It’s when the bacteria mixes with sugar and produces acids that problems like gum disease and tooth decay happen. Fortunately, deep cleaning through scaling and root planing can reverse these problems.
Dental scaling can be done with ultrasonic instruments, handheld instruments or both. The procedure starts with a thorough examination of your mouth. Next, your dentist will use an ultrasonic instrument to scale your teeth. This device features a vibrating metal tip combined with a cool water spray. The vibrating metal tip chips tartar away while the water flushes it out of the gum’s pockets. The dentist may use a handheld instrument next to remove the remaining tartar.
Alternatively, your dentist may use a handheld instrument known as a dental scaler and curette. This thin metal tool will be inserted underneath your gumline to access plaque your toothbrush can’t reach.
Dental planing is usually followed by a procedure called root planing. Root planing reaches deeper to address inflammation of the gum tissue. This procedure involves the dentist scaling the root surface, smoothing out rough target areas so the gums can re-attach properly.
What To Expect Afterward
It’s normal for your mouth to feel sensitive and a bit sore after a dental scaling and root planing procedure. Some patients report bleeding and swelling for a few days following the treatment.
Your dentist will normally schedule another visit after the treatment to make sure that your mouth is healing properly.