What is a Deep Cleaning?

What is a Deep Cleaning?

A Deep Cleaning is the most common way to treat periodontitis, or gum disease. It is a non-surgical procedure performed by your dental professional to help remove stubborn plaque and tartar form your teeth. Removing built up plaque and tartar can help your gums become healthy again and can help prevent bacteria build up in your mouth. 

Why is a Deep Cleaning Necessary?

Plaque, which is sticky and full of bacteria, tends to accumulate over time on and below the gum line. If you struggle with receding gums, this sticky plaque can put you at risk for gum disease. As the plaque builds up on and under the gum line, deep pockets can form around your teeth and introduce bacteria into your teeth that can inevitably destroy your teeth and result in tooth loss. Scaling is necessary because it allows your dental professional to clean the areas of your tooth that lie below the gum line. 

What Instruments are Used to Perform Deep Cleaning?

Your dental professional will use one of two types of Deep Cleaning tools:

  • Hand-held deep cleaning instrument. This involves using a deep cleaning and curette in order to manually remove the built up plaque from your teeth. They are not able to actually see the areas of heavy plaque build up, so they use touch to identify rough patches and areas of tartar. 
  • Ultrasonic deep cleaning instrument. This tool cleans tartar and plaque from your teeth using a vibrating metal tip that chips away at the tartar and then uses a water spray in order to wash the removed tartar away and in order to keep the metal tip cool during the procedure. 

What Should I Expect During My Visit?

It is possible that the entire procedure may be done in one office visit, but normally a deep cleaning is done by quadrants or halves. You will receive local anesthesia and then your dental professional will use either the hand held tool or the electric tool to remove deposits of tartar from your teeth and from below the gum line. Depending on the severity of the case, it can take anywhere from 25 minutes to an hour or more per quadrant. After your visit, you may experience some tenderness and may be numb from the anesthesia. 

Will I Experience Pain During the Procedure?

Before they start the deep cleaning process, your dental professional will numb the surrounding gums and tooth roots with a local anesthesia. You may experience a slight pinch or burn when the local anesthesia is being administered. The cleaning should not cause much discomfort. 

After Your Visit:

After your visit, it is important to maintain good oral hygiene. Brushing twice a day in addition to flossing and using mouthwash will help ensure that your gums can be healthy and regain their pink and firm appearance. 

Because the deep cleaning can sometimes introduce bacteria into your bloodstream, it is important to let your dentist know if you experience any signs of an infection such as fever, swelling or vomiting.