For someone with healthy gums and teeth, preventative dental cleanings are usually scheduled every six months. But when someone has an infection deep below their gum line, and it’s causing tissue destruction, a deep cleaning is the standard of care. Deep cleanings target periodontal disease at the source, reducing the risk of tooth loss and bone loss.
Here are seven signs you might need a deep cleaning because of gum disease:
1. You Have Visible Tartar Buildup (Calculus)
Tartar is calcified plaque. It tends to be heaviest along your gumlines and under your gum tissues as it accumulates across your root surfaces. But most people never see this buildup until their dentist takes X-rays or after it’s removed. If you do see visible tartar, like around your lower front teeth, as well as other symptoms of gum disease, you probably need a deep cleaning.
When you think of tartar buildup, you can think of it like an iceberg. Most of what is there isn’t what’s above the surface; it lies much deeper.
2. Chronic Bleeding Gums
You may need a dental deep cleaning if your gums bleed easily. While gingivitis can cause your gums to bleed whenever you brush or floss, bleeding gums are not normal. With good home care, bleeding gums should improve within two weeks. Anything past that usually indicates active periodontal disease.
Healthy gum tissues do not bleed. Bleeding is one of the early signs of a gum infection. Fortunately, minor conditions like gingivitis can easily be reduced with daily flossing, proper brushing, and professional cleanings. Chronic bleeding means there is some other type of condition causing an immune response inside of your mouth. In this case, it is typically a periodontal infection.
3. Receding Gumlines (Gum Recession)
As gum tissues become diseased, they pull away from the roots of your teeth. This process will lead to exposed root surfaces, sensitive teeth, an uptick in root cavities, and visible spaces between your teeth where the gums have receded. Healthy gums usually have a nice pointed “papilla” between each tooth. When they begin to recede, it’s usually because of gum disease or some type of oral trauma.
4. Swollen Gum Tissues
Swelling and inflammation are normal if you have gingivitis. Typically, if you brush and floss every day, those symptoms will improve within a couple of weeks. But if they don’t or your swelling is severe, you will need a deep cleaning. The swelling is a natural inflammatory response to the bacteria below the edges of your gums. That’s why deep dental cleanings (scaling and root planing) are a “must” for anyone with chronic gum inflammation.
5. Sore or Loose Teeth
Advanced gum disease causes deterioration of the gums and bones that support your teeth. As a result, teeth feel loose or sore whenever you bite down or apply pressure to them. Typically, the discomfort is because of stretching fibers in your gum tissues or around the roots of the teeth. This condition is why so many people with chronic periodontal disease will also experience tooth loss.
After a deep dental cleaning, good oral hygiene will help ensure a healthy environment where gum tissues can heal properly. Ideally, we look for some level of tissue reattachment to reduce your chances of tooth loss and bone resorption.
6. Halitosis (Bad Breath)
Periodontal disease is known for causing a foul odor in your mouth. Usually, it’s because of necrotic tissues and bacteria deep below your gum line. Mouth rinse and breath mints won’t help. A deep cleaning involves reaching below the tissues to remove plaque and tartar, treating bad breath at its source.
Although most bad breath bacteria tend to accumulate on the tongue, periodontal disease can be even more potent. If you struggle with halitosis, you may need a deep dental cleaning to remove the malodor’s source.
7. It’s Been a Long Time Since Your Last Checkup
When teeth cleanings are infrequent, there’s a higher chance of developing gum disease or having heavy tartar buildup below your gum tissues. Chances are if you’ve gone months or years without a checkup, your next one may require deep cleaning to get your oral health back on track.
A Note to Patients Who Use Tobacco Products
If you smoke or use tobacco products, you might not experience normal symptoms of gum disease, like swelling or bleeding. Regular cleaning and exam visits will help screen for early signs of gum disease when the infection is more manageable. That being said, tobacco users typically see less improvement after a deep tooth cleaning than non-smokers do because of blood flow to their oral tissues.
Camas Deep Cleaning vs. Preventative Cleanings
“Routine dental cleanings” (prophylactic visits) are designed to help you maintain good oral health between regular checkups. They are used for removing mild stains and buildup that accumulate between checkups. But once tartar buildup, bone loss, and gum disease are present, your oral health requires more than preventative care. At that point, a deep cleaning is necessary to remove buildup deep below the gums, which are responsible for bone loss and tissue detachment.
A deep cleaning is usually phased out over at least two visits, and we may want to numb your mouth during deep cleaning appointments. After your scaling and root planing, we usually recommend periodontal maintenance visits every 3-4 months.
Your deep dental cleaning is meant for stopping active disease, while regular cleaning visits are for preventing it. It is impossible to clean teeth normally and above the gums if you have active periodontal pockets and infection. To do so would be considered sub-standard care.
Ask About Perio Protect
Our Camas dentist also offers Perio Protect treatments to target bacteria below the gumlines, making your home care routine more effective. This additional therapy will improve your recovery from gum disease and make preventative maintenance more effective. It delivers medication into the gum pockets around your gum teeth, reducing bacterial levels between your dental cleanings. This added measure helps halt periodontal infection more quickly to get you on the road to recovery.
Showing Signs of Gum Disease? Call Now!
Gum disease doesn’t have to be the end of your oral health. Call Radiance Dental in Camas today to meet with our experienced dental professionals.