Is Periodontal Cleaning Necessary?
There is a large portion of the population that don’t schedule yearly dental checkups, so by doing so you’re already ahead of the game. But when is periodontal cleaning necessary? Periodontal treatment prevents periodontal disease — essentially, disease of the gums. At its worst, it can cause severe gum bleeding, tooth decay, and the receding of the gums which exposes the root of the tooth. If this occurs, gum grafting may be needed, which is why a regular periodontal “deep clean” is so valuable.
When should you be scheduling this?
If it’s within your time and economic budget, appointments every three to six months are ideal. At the minimum, a cleaning every year is recommended. If you are already showing signs of gum disease, an emergency deep cleaning may be needed even if you have already had an appointment within the last 12 months.
What is involved in the process?
Apart from gum grafting — which usually shouldn’t be needed if you keep good oral hygiene habits — scaling and root planing are a part of the deep clean that should be scheduled in tandem with regular brushing and flossing.
Scaling is a procedure where your hygienist will look below the gumline to remove the buildup of plaque that regular flossing and brushing just can’t reach. Plaque affects everyone regardless of their habits — saliva and bacteria layer your teeth at all times. By eating, you’re allowing tiny particles and sugars from the foods to enter and stick to this layer of film. The bacteria feed off of this which is what causes gum disease as well as general decay.
Root planing reaches deeper on the surface of your teeth. When you brush, you only scratch the surface, but root planing smooths areas so that gums can attach to teeth properly.
Are the after-effects worth it?
Totally! Your mouth may feel minor soreness after the procedure, especially if you have not brushed or flossed regularly, but your dentist has seen it all — you have nothing to worry about. Your dentist may also be able to recommend some desensitizing toothpaste to ease discomfort or even some prescription mouthwash if it will help act as a preventative measure.
Periodontal cleanings, or “deep cleans”, are regular appointments that every person should schedule at least once per year. It is necessary in order to prevent not only gum disease but tooth decay as well. By reaching deeper pockets than a simple toothbrush or flosser could, you are ensuring that harmful bacteria in plaque will not build up in your mouth.