Do you realize that one of the primary tools in your hand to support a healthy life is your little toothbrush? Indeed, regular brushing and flossing go a long way to protect your oral health, and through this, your general health and well-being.
Brushing and Flossing? Teeth & Gums
The primary effectiveness of brushing and flossing is prevention of plaque accumulation. It is this plaque which is a favorable breeding ground for harmful bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria affect both teeth and gums.
Gum Disease If Left Untreated | Tooth Loss
They promote erosion of your dental enamel causing cavities, and cause gum disease, or periodontal disease. Both cavities, and gum disease, if left untreated can lead to tooth loss. Regular dental cleanings and where necessary, deep cleaning and root planning are dental operations which help avoid such unfortunate situations. You will understand the benefits of deep cleaning and root planning much better if you first familiarize yourself with what regular cleaning and deep cleaning mean. So bear with me for a while, and read on.
While your oral hygiene, including regular brushing and flossing, certainly goes a long way in plaque prevention, it cannot be one hundred percent effective. Why? Because you can’t see all those places where plaque can build, and your brush and floss cannot easily reach there.
One such place is the gum line. Others are the back surfaces of your teeth and tooth surfaces between adjacent teeth. Over time plaque tends to build up in these places. It is for this reason that professional cleanings by a dentist or a dental hygienist recommended twice a year are strongly recommended.
Unfortunately, many people ignore regular cleanings for various reasons. Initially, they experience no problems. But bacteria in the plaque in the gum line soon cause inflammation of the gum soft tissues and soon the hard tissue or the jawbone areas too. That is the start of periodontal disease. Inflamed gums tend to recede leaving part of the roots exposed and causing visible gaps between the teeth. This makes your regular hygiene even more difficult.
Gums loosen up from the teeth, and the tiny pockets between teeth and gum tissues at their joint, which should be no more than 3mm deep, start deepening. Plaque extends into these periodontal pockets and the harmful bacteria are most pleased to colonize this additional territory. If left untreated, the process continues further, and may result in discomfort, further aggravation, bleeding, bad odor, gum pain, and ultimate tooth loss.
Deep Dental Cleaning & Dental Hygiene
In such cases, it becomes necessary to obtain a deep dental cleaning. This procedure is also referred to by the dental profession as scaling and root planning. It is something more than a regular cleaning. Scaling is the process of removing the plaque. This scaling is done to remove the plaque and the bacterial colonies under the gum. This could be done by the dentist or the dental hygienist using manual scaling tools or ultrasonic means.
The process may require local or topical anesthesia. However, in some cases the infection caused by the bacteria has not only damaged the soft tissues of the gum but also roughened the root surfaces. Rough root surfaces tend to gather more plaque than plain surfaces do, and hence, in order to discourage repeated build up of plaque here, it becomes necessary to plane the root surfaces so affected. This process is called root planing. Before stitching the soft tissue back the dentist may place antibiotic medicine in the cleaned pockets to kill any remnant bacteria and promote healing. The deep cleaning and root planing procedure will take a minimum of two visits for which the dentist will schedule an appointment for you. After that a follow up visit may be required to confirm that everything is going right.
Scaling and Root Planing Appointments-Post care
Scaling and root planing procedure done by a competent dental professional will normally rid your gums of the harmful bacteria, and over a period of two to three months you should be rid of the effects. Healthy gums will return with their original color. The recovery process will be visibly faster if you perform your regular oral hygiene regularly as advised by your dentist or oral hygienist. He or she may also advise you to use good antibacterial mouth rinses which you should use regularly. If the periodontal disease is not reversed in about three months you may like to plan another consultation with a periodontist to decide on further course of treatment.
Benefits of Deep Cleaning & Regular Dental Cleaning
Having read about what a regular dental cleaning and deep cleaning means – you can now appreciate the benefits of deep cleaning, also called scaling and root planing.
- Check and Reverse Periodontal Disease- a thorough deep cleaning, and if necessary, root planning will neutralize the buildup of plaque and bacterial infection on the tooth surfaces above and below the gum. This will not only stop progression of the periodontal disease already existing, but can also reverse it.
- Healthier Smile- diseased gums lose their natural pink color and spoil your smile. Natural good looks of your gums should return after the deep cleaning process.
- Reverse Gum Recession- One very unaesthetic result of periodontal disease is receding of your gums leaving part of the roots bare and visible. Also, gaps now appear between adjacent teeth which also look unpleasant and create hygiene problems.
- Avoid bad Odor- Periodontal disease normally results in bad odor coming from the mouth. Others will avoid standing or sitting close to you. Deep cleanings will prevent this embarrassing condition of your mouth.
- Good Oral Health- Elimination of periodontal disease contributes to good oral health and a clean mouth. This restores and maintains effective chewing and biting functions of the teeth.
- Better Overall Health- Your mouth is the energy gateway to your body, and also the first energy (food) processing stage. An unhealthy mouth is very likely to cause disease in the rest of the body. In fact various types of serious systemic diseases have been associated with periodontal disease. Deep cleanings will go a long way towards preventing systemic diseases due to bad oral health.
The Bottom Line – Visit The Dentist Regularly
In few words, your dentist is your friend. Visit your dentist regularly for cleanings or deep cleanings. In case you miss those, you may be at risk for further dental risks including periodontal disease do not delay scheduling a dental appointment.