What Are Deep Cleanings and Why Would You Need One?

If you have severe gum disease, then your dentist may have said you need a deep cleaning. Deep cleanings are a regular general dentistry procedure. However, many people don't know much about it or if they should go through with having it done. Here is more to know about deep cleanings, how your dentist determines you need one and what the procedure involves.

What Are Deep Cleanings?

Deep cleanings are more extensive than the regular maintenance cleanings that you get every six months. These cleanings are also called root planing and scaling. They involve cleaning under the gum line. These procedures are divided up into four quadrants. You may only need one or two quadrants, or your dentist may do the full mouth. Often, the dentist will divide the treatment into multiple visits.

Why Would a Dentist Do a Deep Cleaning?

The main reason why dentists prescribe a deep cleaning is that your gums have large pockets or are severely diseased. Your dentist makes this determination by measuring all the pockets in your gums. Usually, anything over 4mm and under 6mm usually needs a deep cleaning. While no one is completely pocket-free, multiple large pockets can cause future dental problems if not addressed. If your gums get worse, then your teeth could lose bone tissue and may fall out.

The goal of deep cleaning is to remove bacteria and plaque that cause your gums to pull back and become inflamed. You cannot treat this problem with simple brushing and flossing or a regular dental cleaning. After a deep cleaning, your gums should heal, provided you continue with good dental hygiene. While deep cleanings will help prevent future gum recession, they won't cure gums that have already receded.

What Happens During a Deep Cleaning?

During a deep cleaning, your dentist will scrape plaque and bacteria under the gum line. Then, the roots are smoothed over to help the gums reattach. The dentist does this procedure under local anesthesia. You may also receive other medications to combat infection. Your teeth will feel sensitive and sore for a few days afterwards. You will need to come back in a couple of months so the dentist can assess how you are healing.

If you haven't seen a dentist in a while, and your gums look bad and are bleeding, then you may need extensive care. If your dentist has done a full examination and has determined you have severe gum disease, then you may need deep cleaning. If you need this procedure, don't wait too long. You could end up with severe recession and possible tooth loss.