Most of us would agree that having our teeth cleaned is one of the high points of a visit to the dentist. It leaves the mouth feeling fresh and clean and it adds a special gleam to the smile.

Regular teeth cleaning procedure concentrates on removing plaque and debris from the surface and in between the teeth and is done as part of every six-month checkup for patients with minimal to average plaque buildup. Patients who have been diagnosed with gum disease, however, need something more. In order to gauge the progression of the disease, the hygienist will use a dental probe to determine how deep the spaces are between each tooth and the gum tissue that has receded from it. If the measurement is more than five millimeters a deep cleaning will be recommended.

A deep cleaning, also known as “scaling and root planing,” goes beneath the gumline to reach the bacteria and tartar that has collected there. If it is not removed swelling and infection will continue to spread resulting in bone loss and the eventual loss of teeth.

Because a deep cleaning process is more invasive it does require a local anesthetic, but it is usually done over 3 or 4 sessions so that only one section of the mouth is numbed each time. Each session should take about thirty to forty-five minutes. In the weeks after the entire deep cleaning process has been completed and with proper home care the gums should begin to get healthier. A bacterial mouthwash may be recommended. The hygienist will re-measure to confirm improvement as part of the follow-up visit.

The major cause of gum disease is the lack of good oral health care. The best care regimen consists of daily brushing and flossing, eating healthy foods and limiting sugar intake. This along with regular professional checkups and cleanings can mean the difference.

New patients will be impressed by the reviews on the Spokane Valley Dentistry website. Join our dental home today, call 509-926-6261.