You might think that, if you brush and floss regularly as part of your at-home oral care routine, it’s ok for you to skip one or two of those recommended dental visits for a cleaning and exam. Though it’s great to be diligent about maintaining your oral hygiene, it isn’t enough to keep disease at bay and keep your teeth and gums healthy. If you fail to visit your dentist every six months for a cleaning, you’re allowing bacteria to collect in areas in the mouth where they produce acids that attack not just the teeth, but the gums as well. To clean up the damage caused by this buildup and restore health to your gums, your dentist will recommend a deep cleaning.
A deep cleaning procedure is different from a routine cleaning because, as the name suggests, it goes deeper into the gumline. While a routine cleaning simply cleans plaque and tartar away from the tooth surfaces up to the gumline, a deep cleaning also cleans out the pockets in the gums themselves. This gives the gums a chance to heal and reattach to the teeth.
One effect of the excess build-up of bacteria in the mouth is the development of gum disease, or periodontitis. This condition leads to gum recession and can eventually cause bone recession and tooth loss as well. In addition to harming your oral health, periodontal disease can also have an effect on your overall health if some bacteria manage to get into your bloodstream and travel to other areas of the body. To prevent more serious issues from developing, your dentist will recommend a deep cleaning.
Because a deep cleaning is slightly more invasive than a routine cleaning, anesthesia will be needed for the procedure so that you stay as comfortable as possible during the procedure. Your dentist or hygienist will then use tools to clean out the area between the teeth and gums. Follow-up appointments may be needed to allow your dentist to check that your gums are healing properly after the procedure.