Nearly half of American adults over age 30 suffer from gum disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Medically known as periodontitis, gum disease is a severe infection or inflammation of the tissues that surround your teeth.
If you’re among those plagued with gum disease, a deep teeth cleaning is your best course of action. This treatment entails cleaning between your teeth and beneath the gums down to the roots.
Dr. Margaret Culotta-Norton, located In Washington, DC, has helped countless patients improve the health of their gums with advanced deep dental cleanings. Here she explains everything you need to know about this often essential and highly-effective therapy.
What is a deep cleaning?
A deep cleaning differs from a standard cleaning in multiple ways. During routine cleaning, your dentist or hygienist cleans your tooth's front, back, and sides above the gum line.
At a deep cleaning appointment, the dentist also cleans your teeth' roots under the gumline. She removes the tartar and plaque from the “pockets” or spaces between your teeth and gums from this area.
When is a deep cleaning necessary?
Deep cleaning is advised when you have pockets between your gums and teeth more than 4 millimeters. A deep cleaning followed by diligent oral hygiene at home can reverse early-stage gum disease.
The deep cleaning process
A deep cleaning may require multiple appointments.
The first part of a deep cleaning is similar to a standard dental cleaning where all the plaque and tartar above the gums will be removed. At a subsequent visit, the dentist or hygienist will scale (clean) the roots of your teeth to remove the tartar from below the gums. This usually requires local anesthesia to ensure patient comfort. The scaling of the roots below the gums may require more than one visit depending on the needs of the patient.
The importance of treating gum disease
Left untreated, early-stage gum disease, called gingivitis, advances to severe periodontitis, causing deep pockets between your teeth and gums. Once this occurs, bacteria affect your teeth and the bone supporting structures, leading to tooth loss and jaw bone loss.
Regular teeth and mouth care is essential for preventing gum disease after periodontal scaling and root planing. Proper dental care at home and a balanced diet can help you preserve treatment results and prevent future gum problems.
If you’re behind on dental cleanings or suspect you may have gum disease, schedule a consultation with Dr. Culotta-Norton by calling 202-833-1111 or visiting the contact page.