Most patients are accustomed to the regular cleanings provided by one of our hygienists during your usual check-up appointments at Belmont Dental Associates. During your routine cleaning we start by using a dental scaler to scrape away all of the plaque and tartar build up along and below your gum line. Then, we will thoroughly polish and floss your teeth and one of our dentists will come in for your visual examination. Most likely you will leave our office feeling fresh and clean after this appointment, so what is the difference between these regular cleanings vs. periodontal cleanings?
There are many different terms used to describe periodontal cleanings. Deep cleaning may be the best description for anyone to understand, but they are formally referred to as a scaling and root planing. This procedure is reserved for patients who suffer from gum or periodontal disease, often because they have not kept up with their bi-annual visits with us and haven’t maintained proper oral hygiene at home.
In order to determine if your gum disease is advanced enough to need a deep cleaning, we will first use a probe to measure the area around the bottom of your teeth for large pockets. Pockets occur when your gums begin to pull away from your teeth due to inflammation and plaque build up. If they are deeper than 3mm they tend to provide an easy space for bacteria to form. When plaque and bacteria form in these pockets, it cannot be removed with regular brushing and flossing. This is when we would advise you to move forward with a periodontal cleaning.
To begin your deep cleaning, we will take careful care to remove all the hardened plaque above and below your gum line, all the way down to the bottom of each pocket. Once this scaling process is complete, we will use root planing to smooth the surface of your teeth toward the roots to help your gums settle and reattach themselves without pockets. Scaling and root planing may require more than one appointment to completely clean your teeth and gums, and many patients require a small dose of local anesthetic to tolerate the procedure.
If you believe you may be suffering from gum disease and would like to look into a periodontal cleaning with us, call our front desk at 704-825-3455 today to schedule your next visit!