If you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, your teeth may need to be thoroughly cleaned. This process, known as periodontal maintenance, involves a procedure that is performed to remove all bacterial buildup under the gums. It is impossible to clean pockets with a depth greater than 3 mm at home, so when there are pockets larger than 3 mm, it is important to have your teeth cleaned every three months by a dentist. Regular cleaning or prophylaxis involves cleaning the surfaces of the teeth above the gums.
The diagnosis of periodontal or gum disease involves the presence of pockets or spaces under the gums, and deep cleaning or root scraping and smoothing is required to remove plaque and calculus or buildup from under the gums. The purpose of a periodontal cleaning treatment is to remove all bacterial buildup under the gums. Periodontal cleaning gives each tooth a “clean slate,” allowing the body to heal areas of inflammation and disease caused by bacteria. When performing the scraping, the periodontist will use a hand-held dental scraper to manually scrape plaque from the teeth above and below the gum line.
They can also use an ultrasonic tool with a metal tip that vibrates, in addition to a water sprayer to remove tartar. Root smoothing is more of a rubbing movement, which is used to soften the rough areas of the tooth roots and thus make it difficult for bacteria to adhere to them in the future. Sometimes an antibiotic gel is applied to the teeth during cleaning to get rid of hard-to-reach germs; other times, oral antibiotics or a special mouthwash with antibiotics may be prescribed. Unlike routine dental cleanings, this treatment requires two appointments, allowing us to treat half of the mouth at each visit.
Improving your oral hygiene routine and undergoing professional dental cleanings to remove the tartar accumulated along the gum line is usually sufficient in the early stages of gingivitis. In general, the goal of regular cleaning is preventive maintenance and the goal of deep dental cleaning is to stop the progression of gum disease. If bacteria invade below the gum line, you'll need a thorough dental cleaning to restore gum health. The dentist or dental hygienist may also offer to show you how to properly clean your teeth by yourself.
If you're looking for a periodontal dentist or implant dentist, Santa Monica Dental Practice, Santa Monica Periodontics & Implant Surgery offers dental implants, gum grafts, scraping, root smoothing and more. If you've recently been diagnosed with gum disease, your dentist will likely recommend a deep cleaning treatment.