Periodontal Disease & Deep Cleanings

Signs, Causes and Treatment

Plaque and tartar lead to Gingivitis, the first form of Periodontal Disease. Regular checkups, dental cleanings, and good oral hygiene will prevent the onset of this condition.

Periodontal Disease and Deep Cleanings

What Is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease affects nearly 80 percent of the adult population. Periodontal diseases are bacterial infections that affect the tissues and bone that support teeth.

Types of Periodontal Diseases

There are many types of periodontal diseases, but two of the most common are gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is due to the long-term effects of plaque deposits. Plaque is a sticky material made of bacteria, mucus, and food debris that develops on the exposed parts of the teeth. It is a major cause of tooth decay. If you do not remove plaque, it turns into a hard deposit called tartar that becomes trapped at the base of the tooth. Plaque and tartar irritate and inflame the gums. Bacteria and the toxins they produce cause the gums to become infected, swollen, and tender.

Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. It causes the gums to become red, swollen and bleed easy. There is usually little or no discomfort at this stage. Gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and good oral care at home. But if gingivitis is allowed to persist, it can progress to periodontitis, an irreversible, chronic infection in the pockets surrounding the teeth. The resulting inflammation can damage the attachment of the gums and bone, often resulting in tooth loss.

The Periodontal-Systemic Link

Tooth loss is not the only potential problem posed by periodontal diseases. Research suggests that there may be a link between periodontal diseases and other health concerns such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Signs of Periodontal Disease

  • Gums that bleed easily when brushing or flossing
  • Red, swollen or tender gums
  • Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Pus between your tooth and gums
  • Loose or separating teeth
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • A change in the fit of partial dentures

Treatment of Periodontal Diseases with Deep Cleaning of Teeth

Treatment methods for periodontal disease depend on the type and severity of the disease. The first non-surgical step usually involves a special cleaning, called scaling and root planing, to remove plaque and tartar deposits on the tooth and root surfaces. This procedure helps gum tissue to heal and reduce pocket depths. This is sometimes referred to as “periodontal” or “deep cleaning” and often takes more than one visit.

Dental Deep Cleaning, Scaling and Root Planing

The two parts that make up a dental deep cleaning are scaling and root planing. These parts have different purposes but work together, to begin restoring the teeth’s good health. Scaling scrapes away the plaque and tartar that has accumulated above and below the gum line and on the surfaces of the teeth. Root planing smooths away the rough places on the root surfaces and cleans any surface of the tooth that may have become infected. Through scaling and planing, the clean and healthy roots are smoothed, allowing the gum to reattach to the roots of teeth. Though the damage made by gum disease cannot be reversed, it can be stopped and prevention can be practiced.

The deep cleaning procedure is divided into quadrants. The patient might need the top left and right quadrants cleaned or the lower left and right, or all four. Since the procedure is divided into quadrants, completion can take between two and four visits to the dentist. A deep cleaning is sometimes performed under local anesthesia. Our Sedation Dentistry services are also available.

If the pockets do not heal after scaling and root planing, periodontal surgery may be needed to reduce the pocket depth and make teeth easier to keep clean.

Periodontal Maintenance with Deep Cleanings

After treatment, more frequent hygiene appoints are necessary to maintain periodontal health. Good oral hygiene at home is also essential to help keep periodontal disease from becoming more serious or from recurring.