As the new year approaches, you may be considering ways in which you can improve upon your health in 2020. While diets and exercise are typically at the top of everyone’s list, you may want to consider improving your dental health.
Your dental health can have a positive effect on your overall health and help you to reach those New Year’s resolutions.
One form of dentistry that can be especially beneficial is a deep dental cleaning.
While a deep dental cleaning may sound like simply a “stronger” version of a regular cleaning, it is actually a different procedure altogether used for a different reason. A deep cleaning is meant to specifically clean spaces between the teeth and gums where deep gaps begin to develop. These gaps are known as periodontal pockets and can become filled with bacteria that causes inflammation.
If not treated in time, this bacteria can pass into the bloodstream, which can then lead to greater health issues.
Periodontal pockets can be a sign of gum disease, something nearly half of all Americans over 30 have. Your Pharr family dentists at Heroes Dental are here to protect you from gum disease by informing you of dental care options and helping to treat the issue.
In many cases, the first line of defense against gum disease is a deep cleaning.
What exactly is a deep cleaning?
Deep cleaning is primarily used to treat gum diseases like gingivitis or periodontitis, a serious chronic condition that causes bone loss and a buildup of plaque. In periodontitis, plaque then attracts bacteria which grows in the spaces caused by bone loss. The bacteria releases an acid that further dissolves the tissue connecting your teeth and gums, deepening the pocket.
Deep cleaning has two different steps: scaling and root planing.
Scaling is a general term meaning the removal of plaque and tartar. In a regular cleaning, this happens above the gum line, but this can disturb the bacteria colonies that live in the periodontal pockets. This is why deep cleaning removes the bacteria entirely by focusing below the gum line.
Root planing is a process during which your dentist removes plaque from the roots of your teeth. This allows your gums to reattach to the root and helps to remove areas where bacteria grow.
You may receive a local anesthetic or numbing gel in preparation for this procedure. This procedure will also need to be done more than once.
How do I know if I need a deep cleaning?
When an individual does not keep up with their oral hygiene, then the likelihood of needing a deep cleaning increases.
Your dentist may also recommend a deep cleaning if it’s been more than six months since your last visit. Primarily, however, your dentist will check whether or not you need a deep clean by measuring the depth of your periodontal pockets.
Periodontal pockets are measured by inserting an instrument called a periodontal probe into the area around your teeth. This is generally carried out during a Comprehensive Periodontal Evaluation (CPE). The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) recommends you have a CPE once a year in order to maintain your oral health. A normal and healthy pocket is usually no more than 3 mm deep, and deeper pockets can be a sign of gum disease.
Deep cleaning is the only way to remove the plaque that has been trapped under the gums and it also promotes gum repair. If the space between your teeth and gums is deeper than 5mm, you are a prime candidate for a deep cleaning.