What is a Deep Cleaning? Do I Need One?

Have you been told by your dentist or hygienist that you need a deep cleaning? Why didn’t they do a deep cleaning instead of regular cleaning? What will happen if you don’t do the deep cleaning? These are all very good questions I hope to shed some light on.

A “deep cleaning” is a term used to describe what I call a “non-surgical periodontal treatment.” The purpose of this treatment is to remove hard deposits (called calculus or tarter) and destructive bacteria from the root surface of a tooth and the pocket of gum tissue covering part of the tooth root. In some cases, if left untreated the outcome can be catastrophic to permanent teeth causing severely loose teeth or loss of some or all teeth.

Our dental office can diagnose this condition by evaluating the level of bone around your teeth from x-rays and by measuring the depth of your gum tissue pocket in millimeters. This process requires no anesthetic and should not be uncomfortable. Discomfort could be a sign of gum disease or another dental concern. Although not often necessary, a mild numbing gel can be applied to provide comfort. This simple diagnostic process takes less than 5 minutes. Dr. Cash records these measurements in a digital chart format allowing him to compare measurements over many visits to identify onset or improvement of gum conditions. We can also provide you with this information by paper or email chart if interested.

Genetics, smoking, medications and many systemic conditions can put you at increased risk for gum disease. The great news is the condition is successfully treated in our office in the majority of instances. In fact, we have seen many patients who have been told they need deep cleaning treatment who have shown improvement without the procedure. We take the time to educate our patients about risk factors, enhanced home care and prevention treatment. As a result, many of our patients avoid gum treatments/deep cleanings.

When a predisposition or genetics are not in your favor, don’t despair! We are here to help. After all we all can’t play golf like Tiger or swim like Michael Phelps right?! We have had very successful outcomes stabilizing or improving patients’ periodontal health. When the procedure is necessary the overwhelming majority of our patients report little to no discomfort afterward and take a mild over- the-counter pain medication if anything at all. If you have been told you have gum disease, need a deep cleaning or have any questions we would be happy to speak with you. Please do not hesitate to call us!