What Is a Deep Cleaning and Why Do You Need One?

Everyone should visit their dentist twice a year for regular dental checkups. These visits clear away plaque and tartar to help prevent cavities. The dentist examines your teeth and gums thoroughly to look for any problems, and your hygienist performs a routine cleaning to remove plaque and tartar from hard-to-reach places.

Here at West End Dental in Washington, DC, Dr. Lauren Izadi, Dr. Edward Kim, and our team are devoted to helping you keep your smile as healthy as possible. 

If you have gum disease, we can treat it at the source with a deep cleaning, which reduces inflammation and keeps your gums healthy. After this procedure, it’s important that you visit us biannually to keep your smile healthy and prevent further complications. If you’ve been told that you need a deep cleaning, here’s what you should know. 

What is a deep cleaning?

A deep cleaning refers to scaling and root planing. This means we remove plaque and tartar that has accumulated at the gumline and beneath your gums, and we also clean the surfaces of the roots. If there are rough spots on the roots, we smooth them out so bacteria have fewer places to hide.

This is not the same as a routine cleaning, but is necessary to treat gum disease. Without treatment, gum disease can advance and cause complications such as tooth loss, receding gums, and jawbone damage.

When is a deep cleaning necessary?

The goal of biannual dental checkups is for us to detect potential problems before they start or at their earliest stages. If you’ve missed a few checkups, gum disease may develop, and you may need a deep cleaning. When you come in, we’ll conduct a comprehensive evaluation and recommend a course of action.

In general, a deep cleaning is recommended when there are pockets of more than 4 millimeters between your gums and teeth. This occurs when bacteria damage supporting tissue and bone, resulting in deep pockets that provide a larger space for bacteria to thrive. 

Difference between deep cleaning and regular teeth cleaning

A routine cleaning is part of preventive dental care and is vital for maintaining healthy gums. Everyone has small spaces between the teeth and gums, and this is where bacteria can cause harm. Getting regular cleanings prevents bacteria from accumulating and causing damage to your oral health. You get a routine clearing when you visit us for your six-month checkup.

During your routine cleaning, we use special tools to remove plaque and hard tartar from the surface of your teeth and the area above your gums. A deep cleaning is reserved for when you have moderate-to-advanced gum disease. 

Warning signs of gum disease include:

Coming for your regular dental checkups and getting recommended treatments, such as deep cleaning, will keep problems at bay so that you have a healthy smile. To schedule a consultation with one of our top-quality dental specialists call our office or book an appointment here on our website.

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