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Did you know that your gum line is just as important as your teeth? During regular cleanings, the teeth and surrounding gum tissue are cleaned to help prevent gum disease. When gum disease begins, a routine cleaning is not adequate to restore the teeth and gums to a healthy state.  When the teeth and gums develop inflammation from periodontal disease, aka gum disease, deep cleanings are necessary and important.

“What is a Deep Cleaning?”

A deep teeth cleaning is also called scaling and root planing, because that is exactly what the treatment is:  Scaling scrapes off tartar and bacterial deposits that may be stuck below the gum line on the roots and in the pockets of gum tissue surrounding the roots of teeth.  Root planing smoothes the roots of rough spots where germs and bacteria can thrive.   This process helps your gums to heal and allows your periodontal pockets to shrink.  Sometimes antimicrobial medications are also deposited below the gum line to further aid the healing process.  Deep cleanings usually take 2-4 visits, and usually require local anesthetic (“numbing”) for treatment.

“Why are these deep teeth cleanings so important?”

Periodontal disease is not curable and is, in fact, a systemic disease, much like diabetes or hypertension. As you probably noticed in the previous blog, treating periodontal disease is important. Oral bacteria can affect your entire body, not just the gums and teeth.  The goal of deep cleanings is to arrest the active disease process, stabilize the oral health, and maintain improved oral and overall health.

If you would like more information on the importance of dental care, please visit the American Dental Association. Please stay tuned for the next blog, where we go over how to prevent gum disease.

If you would like treatment for gum disease here in Sidney, OH or just want to learn more, click here!

 Teeth are held firmly in place by the gums, bone and ligaments.  Healthy gums fit tightly against the teeth. Gum disease is an infection that  affects the tissues and bone that support the teeth. It is caused by plaque, a sticky film that forms on the surface of the teeth, which contains  bacteria that can irritate the gums.  Inflamed gums begin to pull away from the teeth and form “pockets” that allow more collection of harmful  bacteria, leading to gingivitis. Your dentist or hygienist uses an instrument to gently measure the depth of the pockets around each tooth.   Healthy gums measure 1-3 millimeters and do not bleed, while infected pockets have deeper measurements and may bleed.

 However, if left untreated, gingivitis can progress to advanced periodontitis.  With time, as the plaque and tartar build up along the  gumline, the soft tissues that support the tooth begin to break down.  As the disease progresses, the bacteria will attack and may destroy the  bone support and the teeth may become loose and need to be removed. 

 The good news is periodontal disease does respond well to treatment.When the disease is detected in its early stage, a professional dental  cleaning will remove the plaque and bacteria.  Your hygienist can also give you helpful advice for improving your home care.  Patients with  advanced gum disease require a special cleaning, called scaling and root planing, or periodontal cleaning, where the dentist or hygienist  carefully removes plaque, tartar and bacteria down to the bottom of each periodontal pocket.  This “deep cleaning” allows the tissues to heal and reattach to the tooth.  This procedure may take more than one visit.  At follow up visits, pocket measurements will chart the success of the periodontal cleaning.

If you would like more information on gum disease and gingivitis, please visit the American Academy of Periodontology.

If you would like a checkup, please visit our general dentistry office in Sidney, Ohio!