Over time, deposits of tartar and plaque can collect on your teeth an along the gum line, particularly in those areas where it is difficult to reach when brushing. While a dentist can remove these deposits with a cleaning, sometimes, a regular cleaning is simply not enough. This may happen if you are not maintaining good oral hygiene practices, or if it has been quite a while since your last professional cleaning visit. In these cases, your dentist will recommend a deep cleaning in order to help you avoid tooth decay, gum disease, and gingivitis. These oral health issues can be quite painful, and wreak havoc on the bone structure supporting your teeth, as well as lead to inflammation of your gums.
The difference between regular cleanings and deep cleanings
A regular cleaning is usually reserved for patients without exposed tooth roots or in cases where your tooth structure is intact and there is not an excessive amount of buildup on the teeth and gums. While a deep cleaning will include some of the same procedures of a regular cleaning such as tartar and plaque removal, there will be other procedures involved as well. There is usually a good deal more scaling of the teeth involved, and if a tooth root is exposed, your dentist will spend some time smoothing, or planning the tooth root. In cases where teeth have become severely decayed or broken, your dentist may remove any remnants of the tooth in order to prepare it for a later restoration.
What to expect during a deep cleaning
First, your dentist will examine your mouth, teeth, and gums for any dental issues. Once this is complete, they will prepare your mouth for the cleaning, which may include numbing your gums. This is particularly true in cases where your dentist will have to do a lot of root planning or tooth scaling. In order to keep you as comfortable as possible throughout the procedure, your dentist will usually recommend four deep cleaning appointments, one for each quadrant of your mouth. Of course, you may need more or fewer appointments, depending on the amount of dental work needed. Once your mouth is prepared and properly numbed, your dentist will scale your teeth to remove the buildup of plaque, tartar, and bacteria present with a hand scaler. At the same time, they will remove any pockets of plaque or tartar that have collected along and beneath the gum line. This process is essential to the prevention of periodontal and gum disease. Any tooth roots that are exposed due to decayed teeth or receding gum tissue will also be planed (smoothed), which will help reduce or eliminate any pain they may have been causing you. In some cases, your dentist may recommend you return for a dental bonding or other dental procedures to help keep your teeth and gums healthy.
After a deep cleaning
Your mouth will most likely be a little sore for a few days following a deep cleaning appointment. During this time, you will want to avoid vigorous brushing and flossing. This will give your gums and teeth time to recover from the deep cleaning. Your dentist may recommend that you use special toothpaste or other procedures to help you alleviate some of the soreness and sensitivity you may be experiencing. You may also want to avoid extremely hot or cold foods, as well as foods that are high in sugar for a while after your appointment.
If you are experiencing pain, a warm salt water rinse can help with any inflammation, and taking over-the-counter pain medications or anti-inflammatories may help to relieve your discomfort. If your pain does not recede within a few days, or if you notice anything unusual in your mouth or along your gums, call your dentist immediately.
If you have noticed a lot of buildup on your teeth and feel you may be in need of a deep cleaning appointment, or if you have been putting off your regular dental cleaning appointments for some time, the professionals at Kenneth Hill, DDS can help. Call our office today at (702) 897-7262 and let our experienced staff help to ensure your smile stays bright and healthy for life. Our caring professionals will help put you at ease, and will ensure that you remain comfortable throughout the duration of your visit. We offer treatment without judgment, no matter how long it has been since your last visit. Our main concern is your dental and oral health. Your oral health is too important to neglect; call us today and let us help you take care of your teeth and gums so that your smile can stay healthy and pain free.