Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Do I Need a "Deep Cleaning"?

When you brush your teeth, have you noticed that your gums bleed?  Has someone told you that your breath doesn't smell very fresh?  Maybe you've been getting food stuck between your teeth when eating, or maybe you experience sensitivity when drinking hot or cold liquids.  If any of these scenarios pertain to you, there is a good chance you have "gum disease".  The condition known as periodontitis affects 47% of adults 30+ years old in the United States. Unfortunately, many are unaware of the active disease in their mouths, and end up suffering the serious consequences when they do not seek treatment from a dental professional.

Gum disease starts when a sticky film of bacteria called plaque, attaches to your teeth, causing your gums to become inflamed.  This inflammation is known as gingivitis, and if left untreated, spaces or "pockets" will form between your teeth and the gums. Plaque then gets trapped in these pockets and cannot be removed with regular toothbrushing. As the inflammation in your gums progresses, a more serious form of disease known as periodontitis occurs.  Whereas gingivitis can be reversed with regular hygiene visits, periodontitis is more of a chronic disease which if left untreated, can cause irreversible damaged to your mouth.

So...what's the difference between a "regular cleaning" and "deep cleaning"????
A regular cleaning or prophylaxis, focuses on cleaning the areas of your teeth at or above the gum-line.  This is an appropriate treatment for patients with zero to moderate plaque accumulation, and normally performed on patients who see a dentist regularly for their cleanings.
Patients with a diagnosis of periodontal disease need to have a "deep cleaning" to actively treat their infection.  This type of special cleaning consists of two techniques: 1) Scaling occurs when your dentist removes all the plaque and tartar (calculus) deposits above and below the gum-line, making sure to clean all the way down to the bottom of the pocket. 2) Root planing involves smoothing out your teeth roots to help your gums reattach to your teeth. Scaling and root planing may take more than one visit to complete and may require a local anesthetic for your comfort. A tooth that has been scaled and root planed  free of tartar buildup has a better chance of allowing the gum tissues to heal and reattach to it. As a result, some deep gum pockets can be reduced after a deep cleaning.

When performing your oral examinations at Beachside Dental, Dr. Savidan will provide you with an honest assesment of your periodontal condition.  With the best interests of the patient in mind, we don't "up-sell" treatment that is unnecessary.  However, we will recommend any treatment which we feel is necessary for achieving your optimum oral health.  Please feel free to discuss your periodontal treatment needs with Dr. Savidan and our friendly staff!