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What happens with dental deep cleanings (Scaling & Root Planing)

The visible surface of your teeth is only a small portion of your oral health. There are plenty of places in your mouth that you can reach or don’t get cleaned on a regular basis. One of the areas that collects the most germs and bacteria is beneath the gum lines where you can’t clean on your own. To avoid getting an infection or severe complications, your dentist will perform a scaling or root planning. While it might sound scary, these procedures are not nearly as painful as they sound. Before you go to the dentist, you should know the differences between a deep cleaning and a routine tooth cleaning.

If you have gum disease, your dentist will use a deep cleaning to help recover your oral health. Gum disease is a highly common condition and is treatable. Over 64 million Americans have been diagnosed with gum disease. While so many people have the condition, there is still a lack of education and confusion surrounding the symptoms, treatments, and prevention.

One of the most common and efficient treatments for gum disease is a procedure called scaling and root planning. These procedures are also known as a “deep cleaning,” which is very different from a traditional cleaning that you get with a dental visit. A regular cleaning takes care of the surface of the teeth and everything above the gum line. These cleanings focus on the parts of the teeth that you can see.

A deep cleaning removes all of the bacteria and tartar that builds up under the gum line, the stuff that you can get with a toothbrush or floss. Deep cleanings require a numbing agent to reduce any pain. They also include smoothing and shaping of the root of the tooth to remove any excess bacteria. Because you can’t clean beneath the gum line on a regular basis by yourself, it’s common to have a lot of bacteria build up and lead to problems like infection. Your body responses to these bacteria by inflaming the gums to fight off the germs in your gums.

After your dentist performs the scaling and root planning, they will typically give you an antibiotic. You may feel a slight discomfort after the procedure, but very rarely do patients every have extreme pain. In most cases, a simple pain reliever will ease the pain.

If the deep cleaning doesn’t help improve the condition, you could be referred to a periodontist and could have surgery to reverse the oral condition.

Preventing Gum Disease

Lowering your risk of gum disease is easy. There are a few couple changes that you can make to drastically lower your chances of being diagnosed with gum disease. Obviously, proper oral hygiene is the best way to reduce your risks of having any problems with your gums and teeth, but there are a few other things that you’re doing that could be increasing your risk.

  • Having diabetes
  • Age, the older you are, the higher your risk
  • Having a family history of gum disease
  • Smoking or using other tobacco
  • Pregnancy
  • And some medications

As you can see, there are some factors that you can’t change, but others you can. One great way to reduce your chances is to quit smoking or using tobacco. These products can have significant effects on your teeth and gum.

If you are a diabetic, safely managing your diabetes will have a huge impact on your mouth as well as your overall health. Consistently high glucose levels can cause havoc inside your mouth.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

Because gum disease can have serious complications if not treated early, it’s important that you know the symptoms. Most of them are obvious, while other you’ll have to look for.

  • Red gums
  • Receding gums (more of your teeth are showing)
  • Loose teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Frequent sores in your mouth
  • Bleeding when you brush or floss

These symptoms are shared with other oral complications like periodontitis. If you start noticing any of these symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist immediately. As long as gum disease is caught early enough, it won’t lead to any severe problems. The earlier that is detected, the more treatable it is. If it’s left untreated, it could lead to more severe problems.

Dentist Visits and Oral Health

Regular dental visits are important in maintaining keep your teeth and gums healthy. Because there are a lot of parts of your mouth that you can’t see, there are some problems that you could be missing. There is a chance that you could have gum disease, but not have any of the symptoms (or you may not notice them).

Depending on your oral health, you should visit the dentist at least once every year, but if your teeth and gums aren’t in perfect condition, you should go more frequently, at least twice a year. If you’re diagnosed with gum disease, your dentist could suggest that you visit once every three months.

Keeping your teeth clean is important, especially underneath the gum line. There can be build up and bacteria that you don’t even know about. Deep cleanings can remove the tartar to keep you from getting any infections or diseases. Ignoring your mouth could lead to discomfort, frustration, and thousands of dollars in medical bills.

Dr. Goldsmith is pleased to provide deep cleanings as well as other services to his patients. His goal is to make each visit as simple and painless as possible. Schedule your appointment to, call us at (317) 357-4018 or use our contact form. We would be happy to answer any questions or address any concerns that you have.

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