When you visit the dentist for your professional cleaning and checkup every six months, you can expect to get a very thorough cleaning of your teeth. However, this isn’t necessarily a “deep cleaning.” A deep cleaning refers to scaling and root planing. If your dentist has suggested this treatment, it is typically because you have evidence of gum disease. While scaling and root planing may sound uncomfortable or intimidating, it is really nothing to fear. Scaling and root planing (SRP) is a painless procedure that can prevent gum disease from progressing as well as reverse it in many cases.
To understand the importance of a deep cleaning, you must first realize how serious untreated gum disease is. Gum disease starts as inflammation or irritation within the soft tissues that support your teeth. This process is often triggered by plaque and bacteria that has accumulated on the tooth roots or gum line. If treatment is not initiated, gum disease can progress and cause the gums to pull away from the tooth roots, form deep pockets and even destroy underlying bone. Advanced periodontitis is the leading cause of tooth loss and it has been linked to several overall health conditions.
Now that you understand why gum disease needs to be arrested, here’s how a scaling and root planing helps do that. SRP, or a deep cleaning, typically involves one or two quadrants of your mouth at a time. You may be mildly sore after the treatment, but this dissipates quickly.
The first part of the procedure is scaling. This is performed using a combination of handheld and ultrasonic cleaning tools. Your dentist will scrape and loosen the hardened plaque from the tooth surface and tooth root.
The second half of a deep cleaning is root planing. During this component, the surface of the tooth roots are smoothed. Doing this encourages the gums to reattach to the teeth so that bacteria can no longer accumulate in deep pockets of tissue.
To learn more about how a deep cleaning can save you from the devastating effects of gum disease, please give us a call at Gilreath Family Dentistry.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,