Many dental patients aren’t aware of the difference between a regular, routine dental cleaning (Prophylaxis) and a true deep cleaning (Scaling and Root Planing). A routine cleaning is recommended twice a year as a good preventative measure, keeping teeth and tissue healthy by removing plaque and stains. Unless a problem arises, such as tooth decay or gum disease, these appointments are generally completed in one visit.
This is done by using a manual or ultrasonic device to remove tartar and plaque from below the gum line. Root Planing is using similar instruments to clean and smooth the surface of the roots of the teeth. Both of these procedures are considered a deep cleaning as they go above and beyond a regular dental cleaning.
This may take anywhere from two to four visits to complete depending on your oral health. A local anesthetic may be used to avoid any pain involved. If the patient has especially sensitive teeth, a de-sensitizing toothpaste may be suggested. Many dentists will recommend a deep cleaning when dental films show that there may be bone loss. Another indicator that a deep cleaning is needed is when gum pockets measure four millimeters deep after a full exam. And in these cases, the American Academy of Periodontology recommend that only the areas affected receive the increased cleaning.
Dr. Cash looks to see whether the patient’s oral tissue is beginning to pull away from the teeth leaving “pockets” that can cause disease and ultimately, the loss of teeth. In a deep cleaning, “scaling” and “root planing” are performed so that the tissue can re-adapt to the teeth and bring about a healthy oral condition.
Remember, it’s best to keep your mouth in tip top shape by brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily and having routine checkups and cleanings twice a year. Give us a call – we are here to help!
(source: angie’s list, comp benefits, colgate)