Has your dentist recommended a deep cleaning? What exactly is the difference between a routine dental cleaning and a deep cleaning? You probably get your routine dental cleaning two or three times a year. During this visit your dentist and hygienist will take x-rays if needed, do a checkup and then clean the teeth to remove any plaque and bacteria at or above the gum line. These routine dental visits are very important to staying on top of your oral health, especially your gum health. This is also when your dentist will check for conditions like periodontal disease (a type of gum disease), oral cancer, cavities, etc.
A deep cleaning, known as scaling and root planing, is more than just a thorough cleaning. For patients with periodontal disease diagnosed by your dentist, scaling and root planing is one of the first steps to a healthier smile. In periodontal disease there are bacteria in the pocket or space surrounding the tooth that cause inflammation and cannot be fully removed with a regular dental cleaning. This is when a deep cleaning is indicated. During a deep cleaning your dental provider will numb your gums and carefully remove this inflammation causing bacteria as well as smooth out the root surfaces of the teeth. Sometimes this is done in 2 visits. You may also be given an antiseptic mouthwash. Scaling and root planing is one of the first steps in managing periodontal disease. In addition, treating periodontal disease can help lower the risk of other comorbidities like cardiovascular disorders including stroke, hypertension, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, and more.