By Shelly Fesler, RDH, BSDH
The deep cleaning of teeth is a great way to improve dental health. Don't worry if you need a dental deep cleaning...the latest dental cleaning equipment and anesthetics have made teeth deep cleaning easier, faster and more comfortable.
Most insurance plans pay for a large portion of this procedure making the cost of teeth cleaning affordable.
Sadly, this treatment is too frequently recommended by dentists when it is NOT needed.
How do you know if you really need one?
you haven't had your teeth cleaned in a long time or your gums are clearly inflamed, swollen, or bleed easily when you brush or floss, chances are, you would benefit from a deep dental cleaning.
The confusing part is this...some most definitely need a deep cleaning but don't have such obvious tell-tale signs.
Maybe you have deeper than normal pockets or a lot of dental calculus aka tarter that has built up on your teeth.
You can't always see or feel these problems but they need to be treated none the less.
For these less obvious cases, ask your dentist or hygienist to explain why it is needed.
This procedure is more correctly called dental scaling and root planning or SRP for short. It is usually done in two to four visits but can be completed in one longer appointment.
The dental cleaning equipment used is the same that is used for your regular cleaning appointment.
The difference between a regular cleaning and adeep cleaning is this: your hygienist has more time to focus on each tooth and clean them all thoroughly above and below your gums.
Your mouth will be numb and very comfortable. Sometimes a numbing rinse is used...no shots:)
Dental calculus or tarter that has built up under your gum line andcaused your gums to become inflamed, is removed.
Your hygienist will use ultrasonic teeth cleaning equipment followed by hand scaling instruments making the process faster and more comfortable.
Everyone is asking about lasers these days...
Lasers are used for a variety of dental procedures and can be used to remove diseased gum tissue after the deep cleaning of teeth.
Not every hygienist uses a laser and this step is not always needed. But if necessary, a laser makes the gums heal faster and more completely.
A different type of laser is used in combination with an ultrasonic instrument as an alternative to traditional gum surgery, LANAP or laser assisted new attachment procedure, is done by some dentists and periodontists. This is a different procedure than dental deep cleaning but a very thorough deep cleaning is part of the LANAP procedure. In most cases LANAP is done in place of a deep cleaning and periodontal surgery.
If your dentist or hygienist says you need a deep cleaning and you are not so sure, ask questions until you have a clear understanding.
Still are not sure? A second opinion is a great idea.
I would get a second opinion if...
You have never missed a dental check-up or had gum problems and this procedure is randomly being suggested.
More about how to know if you need this treatment here.