Everyone’s mouth is full of bacteria and plaque. We need to brush twice daily and floss to remove it. The plaque that we miss in our own brushing and flossing hardens to tartar. We have all had our teeth cleaned at the dentist, hopefully twice a year. Regular cleaning and routine exams remove the tartar that builds up usually near the gum line where we typically miss in brushing.
Why schedule cleaning on a regular basis?
If your dental hygiene is not as good as it should be, if you do not have consistent professional dental care, or if you have a genetic predisposition to gum disease, your gums may show signs of gingivitis. Signs of gingivitis could be red swollen gums that easily bleed. Left untreated, it could lead to periodontal disease, an infection of the gum and the bone that supports your teeth. Ultimately it can lead to tooth loss.
Nearly half of adult Americans suffer from gum disease. Gum disease can impact other health conditions such as heart disease, COPD, diabetes, pregnancy, and other inflammatory diseases. Untreated gum disease is linked to preterm birth and babies with low birthweight. Research has shown that there is a link between the progression of gum disease and development of more serious illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and more.
Gum disease affects not just the mouth, but the whole body. It’s amazing how hard your body can work to fight off systemic infection, and what a toll it can take on your energy levels and overall health. Periodontitis is, quite literally, a symptom of your body destroying itself in a desperate attempt to fight off a chronic infection.
When gum disease is a concern, your dentist may recommend a deep cleaning. Deep cleaning is also called root planing, scaling, gum therapy, or SRP. The deep cleaning treatment cleans between the gum and the tooth, down to the roots. A deep cleaning can cause some discomfort and the dentist will typically offer you a topical or local anesthetic to numb your gums. It may require several visits to deep clean part of your mouth at a time. It is especially designed to treat gum disease and stop it from becoming worse.
As with any medical or dental treatment, there are advantages and disadvantages to a deep cleaning. Deep cleaning can help stop the advancement of gum disease. It can treat a current infection and encourage healing. Deep cleaning can help eliminate bad breath caused from gum disease. It can also protect the roots of your teeth and prevent bone and tooth loss.
Deep cleaning is a good treatment for gum disease but it does have risk. The most common side effect of the procedure is that it usually causes pain and sensitivity from 5-7 days, but in extensive cases it could extend to a few a weeks. It could cause nerve damage. It does not guarantee that your gums will reattach to your teeth. It may even cause your gums to recede more. Especially if you are immune compromised, it could lead to an infection.
How do you know if you need a deep cleaning?
Only a dentist or dental hygienist can tell you for sure if you need a deep cleaning. They will use an exam, x-rays, and a test to make the determination. Your dentist will diagnose the problem by measuring any pockets that have formed between your teeth and gum with a special probe. This test is usually painless. The dentist is looking for pockets that are 4mm or greater between your gum and your teeth.
If your dentist recommends a deep cleaning, you owe it to your overall health to get it done. A dentist may even refuse a regular cleaning. This is because a regular cleaning only polishes the teeth. It may disturb the colonies of bacteria on your teeth at the gums, and release them into your bloodstream and the rest of your body. The dentist wants to do a deep cleaning to remove that bacteria safely.
Come see us at Danville Family Dentistry and we can assess your gum health and determine if you need a cleaning or a deep cleaning. Contact us today!
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Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.