Deep cleaning, also known as scaling and root planing, is an important part of oral health. This process is recommended whenever Dr. Riopelle concludes that a patient has gum disease. Patients with active gum disease will receive a deep cleaning to stop the infected gums from getting worse.
Active gum disease results in deep pocket gums, bone loss, inflamed gums, bleeding gums and tooth loss. If you believe you have any of these symptoms, you should seek dental care immediately.
There are different stages of gum disease. Gingivitis is the first stage. Gingivitis happens when there is a buildup of plaque, known as calculus. When calculus hardens, it can’t be removed through flossing and brushing. Plaque and calculus are bacterial clusters that wreak havoc on the tissues in your mouth. Untreated calculus can even result in bone loss.
If substantial amounts of bacteria is allowed to remain inside your mouth and the gingivitis is not treated, then your gum disease can advance to the next stage, periodontics. This is a more serious stage, but many people are not aware that they have periodontal disease until a dentist diagnoses them.
If you have periodontal disease, the gums are infected and can start detaching from the teeth. This creates pockets between the gums and teeth. The deeper the pocket, the more advanced the gum disease. If not treated, the pockets will become too deep. The bacteria will eat away at the bone and your teeth will be in jeopardy of falling out.
Many patients who need a deep cleaning have already lost bone from periodontal disease. Those who have not lost bone are still at a higher risk to experience bone loss in the future. For us to determine how much bone loss you have, we will need to do x-rays of your mouth. Once we review your teeth, gums and tissues, we can determine how advanced the gum disease is and how to treat it.
If patients have healthy gums, there should be a visible portion of the tooth right under the coronal. The root itself is buried within the bone. If a partial root is buried in the bone rather than a partial root, this is an indication of bone loss. Once a tooth becomes mobile, it is not supported by bone. This is when a tooth needs to be extracted. The danger of leaving a diseased tooth in the mouth is that the infection around the tooth will spread to other teeth.
Dr. Riopelle believes that tooth extraction should be the last possible option. As a result, our team tries to save teeth whenever possible. The first step is to determine whether the gums could be treated. Then we treat the gums and see how the patient does before recommending extraction.
When you make an appointment with Dr. Riopelle’s San Romeo, CA dental office, we will measure the pocket depth around your teeth. This gives us a clear idea about whether you need a deep cleaning. If you have pockets that are over three millimeters in size, you need a deep cleaning. A deep cleaning can help ensure that you do not have bone loss in the future.
During the evaluation, we will measure your teeth in six spots. The hygienist uses a small probe for this purpose. The probe has markings that allow the hygienist to accurately measure how deep the pockets are. The further the probe can enter the gum, the deeper the pocket will measure.
A patient who has a pocket depth of over four millimeters or more is considered to have a diagnosis of gingivitis. Patients with pockets of five millimeters or more have moderate gum disease. Patients with pocket depths of six or more millimeters have advanced gum disease. Dr. Riopelle will recommend a deep cleaning for these patients. In some cases, a periodontist will recommend further treatment.
Your mouth may need to be numbed during the procedure so that the hygienist can easily insert the probe into the gum pockets. This is not typically a painful process, but it can be uncomfortable, particularly when there is active gum disease.
In some cases, local anesthetic will be given to a patient so that the deep cleaning can happen without causing the patient discomfort.
You will need to have two office visits to complete the cleaning effectively. Plan to spend about an hour for each visit. The dentist will also recommend future checkups. Most of the time it is wise to return for a checkup at shorter intervals than the normal six months between cleanings.
Pain medication is usually not necessary for deep cleaning since the cleaning does not have side effects or pain that last after the procedure is complete. You will be back to normal shortly after the anesthesia wears off.
If you are worried that you could have gum disease, do not delay. Call Dr. Riopelle and make an appointment with our San Ramon, CA office today. Dr. Riopelle is ready to examine your gums and give you the treatment you need. If you need a deep cleaning, then we would be delighted to meet with you.