Ask dentist Meath: How does deep cleaning differ from regular in-clinic cleaning?

A research study has discovered that over 60 percent of the elderly in the UK suffer from periodontal disease. Patients with this poor oral health condition often experience challenges with eating, swallowing, speaking and even smiling. Periodontal disease heightens the risk of tooth loss which leads to a number of challenges to quality of life including cognitive and psychological.

To get rid of germs, plaque and tartar from teeth that are major contributors to periodontal disease as a result of poor dental hygiene practices, dentists refer to two established dental treatments: regular in-clinic cleaning (recommended every six months) and deep cleanings. Both are effective procedures that target removing the build-up of teeth-destroying tartar and plaque from teeth but with one major difference. While regular cleaning focuses on cleaning above the gum line, deep cleaning that involves two processes (dental scaling and root planing) pays attention to the areas below the gum line.

When is deep cleaning recommended?

Deep cleaning is a common established and effective procedure used by dentists to treat patients with chronic periodontal disease. The procedure is prescribed for patients who have developed deep pockets between gums and teeth that result in the appearance of symptoms: inflamed gums, bleeding gums, sore gums, bad breath, loose adult teeth and noticeable changes in bite. Periodontal disease (gum disease) is a serious dental condition that extends beyond impacting oral health. In addition to patients facing losing their teeth due to advanced gum disease, the condition is also associated with life-threatening medical conditions such as heart disease and stroke.

What happens during a dental scaling and root planing?

This procedure is usually performed under local anaesthetic (to minimise discomfort) as it goes beyond the workings of a typical professional in-chair cleaning treatment. A dentist Meath practitioner may suggest more than one visit depending on the severity of a patient’s periodontal condition and the different areas of the mouth that need to be treated.

The first process involves teeth scaling. A dentist will use special dental instruments to scrape away stubborn plaque build-up from under the gum line. Once this has been done, the next step is to plane the roots of teeth. This is necessary to smooth the roots to encourage gums to reaffix to teeth to prevent pockets from developing again where bacteria can hide and flourish.

After a deep clean procedure, the next important step is the recovery period. Patients may be prescribed antibiotic and pain relief medication. It is important for patients to follow any aftercare instructions such as when to continue normal in-home oral cleaning.

Gum disease is a progressive condition, but it can be prevented, or treated and healthy gums restored. However, this requires a patient to commit to their dental health by following all the dentist’s recommendations including keeping ‘maintenance’ appointments as scheduled. Call your dentist today to schedule an appointment to enjoy the benefits of optimal oral health.