There are different types of cleanings based on your particular need. A simple cleaning can be performed by a dentist or a registered dental hygienist. The cleaning will rid your teeth of any plaque or tartar that may have built up since the previous cleaning. If your mouth requires a more extensive cleaning, your appointment may need to be extended.
For patients with varying degrees of gum disease, a deeper cleaning is needed. Gum disease is something that can affect the majority of Americans, and is the leading cause of tooth loss for adults over the age of 35. If your gums look red, swollen, feel sore, and/or bleed when flossing, you could be at risk for gum disease. Untreated gum disease has also been linked to many other serious health problems, so it’s important to keep them healthy with regularly scheduled cleanings and checkups. There are many different techniques for treating gum disease depending on the severity and progression of the disease. Each patient is evaluated and treated with the best modality available.
Since gum disease affects the bone that surrounds the teeth under the gums, the bone shrinks away under the gums and leaves behind a “pocket”. This pocket is created due to the fact that the gum tissue is often at its same level, but the bone has shrunk down creating a space that the patient cannot reach with their toothbrush or floss. This area must be cleaned manually by the hygienist or the gum disease will progress and cause tooth loss. These “deep cleanings” are a treatment called scaling and root planing.