While many patients are cleared to maintain a regular professional cleaning every six months, it is not uncommon for some patients to need a little extra care from their dentist. One of the most significant discoveries in recent dental research is the impact our gum health has on our overall health. According to the CDC, more than 64 million adults in the U.S. are living with, or have had gum disease. Therefore, in light of this evidence and the overall health risks associated with gum disease, more than half the population needs more than just a prophylactic cleaning. Research has shown that the aggressive bad bacteria found in gum disease can actually get into the bloodstream and travel through major arteries and organs. Thus, putting patients at risk for heart attack, stroke, pre-term labor, Alzheimer’s disease and even certain cancers.
Technically, a regular cleaning is an above-the-gum surface cleaning and polishing that is indicated for those patients who have no sign of infection or bone loss. However, if bleeding, swelling or redness is present, a gum infection may have set in and it needs to be treated on a “deeper” level.
When patients need more than a regular cleaning, a “deep cleaning” is most often recommended first. This is a specialized cleaning procedure that can treat mild to moderate gum disease symptoms and prevent the infection from compromising your oral health and body health. A deep cleaning is also referred to as a scaling and root planing procedure. It is designed to remove bacteria, calculus (tartar), and debris that have accumulated under the gum line. Scaling and root planing may be performed on just a quarter of your mouth or your entire mouth at one visit.
During a scaling and root planing procedure, the area will be numbed with a local anesthetic first. Next, we will carefully work under the gum line to clean away the calculus and debris. The procedure may be performed with both ultrasonic scalers and handheld instruments. We will then shape, or plane, the root of the tooth, to remove places where bacteria can collect in the future.
At Park South Dentistry, we offer advanced procedures that are designed to treat all stages of gum disease. We value the importance of your gum health, as it relates to the future of your smile and your overall health. If you have signs of gum disease, the first line of defense can be a deep cleaning at our office. Schedule yours today!