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24 / 01 / 2019

‘Deep Cleaning’ – Who Needs It?

Failure To Receive Regular Professional Teeth And Gum Cleaning Could Result In The Need For More Invasive Treatment

As regular patients of the Lighthouse Dental Practice will be aware, we put a great deal of emphasis on preventative dental care. This means not only brushing your teeth well and seeing the dentist every six months but also, in our opinion, should include having your teeth professionally cleaned by a hygienist. This should not be seen as an ‘additional extra’ but as a key part of your regular oral health care programme.

Having your teeth cleaned by the hygienist, also known as a ‘scale and polish’ not only means that some surface staining is removed, making your teeth look nicer, but that hardened bacteria is also removed from the parts of our teeth and gums that even the best flossing can’t remove. Failure to remove this may result in the patient eventually suffering from gum disease.

Gingivitis

Before we move on to the main topic of this blog, it is worth distinguishing between gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis occurs at an earlier stage, and, whilst potentially creating some unpleasant symptoms, such as bleeding and soreness, is often reversible with better care at home and a course of professional cleaning. Failure to treat gingivitis is likely to result in it advancing to the periodontitis stage. This is a more serious form of gum disease where not only the gums, but also the root section of the tooth, and the surrounding bone tissue, may become infected. This can result in loose teeth or losing teeth.

A ‘Deep’ Clean

The term ‘deep clean’ may sound, to patients, like it is simply a more thorough cleaning than would generally be applied. This could not be further from the truth though, and perhaps a better term to use is ‘root planing’.

Whilst a scale and polish involve cleaning the teeth and gum line, a root scaling procedure means that the teeth have to be cleaned down to the very tip of the root and the bone around it. This can only be done using an invasive procedure that requires a local anaesthetic in order for it to be carried out. This treatment is also typically carried out by a specialist dentist and not the hygienist at our Ipswich dental clinic.

A deep clean, or root planing, is usually carried out when periodontitis is present. It should not be done as a last resort, but to intervene before the problem becomes too serious. As periodontitis causes bone loss, it is essential that this is stopped whilst the teeth are still secure in their socket. Bone loss can be stopped, but any loss is irreversible, and therefore stopping it early on is key to saving your teeth.

Depending on the severity of the problem and your own situation, it may be necessary to cut into the gums to access the tooth roots. It is not a comfortable procedure, and, ultimately, is one that is largely avoidable with better care.

Who Might Need It?

Anyone who doesn’t take care of their gums, as well as their teeth, may end up needing to have this procedure. Poor oral health can happen to anyone who neglects their mouth, but some groups are at a higher risk than others.

Smokers

Smoking is one of the worst things that you can do for your mouth, to say nothing of your general health. Smoking causes a dry mouth which increases the number of ‘bad’ bacteria. The nicotine in cigarettes also narrows the tiny blood vessels that supply blood to the gums, resulting in a reduced ability to fight infections. Finally, the various chemicals released when we smoke could further irritate and aggravate any problems already present in our gums.

Alcohol

Regular drinkers may also find that they have gum disease. Again, a dry mouth makes this a distinct possibility.

Diabetics

We generally advise our diabetic patients to see us more frequently than other patients. Issues with the immune system make gum disease much more likely, especially if teeth have not been cleaned by a hygienist on a regular basis.

Non-Flossers

Far too few people use dental floss as a regular part of their daily cleaning regimen. It is a simple, yet effective, way of reducing the risk of gum disease. If you find it difficult to do, our Ipswich dental team will be happy to demonstrate how to do this effectively.

Stopping smoking, keeping drinking to a sensible level, and looking after your teeth, including regular hygienist cleaning, are the best ways to avoid this tooth-threatening disease. It is not hard to do and is a much better approach than having to undergo an invasive procedure such as root planing. We are happy to offer any help and advice that we can to help you achieve this.

To arrange an appointment to see one of the dental team at the Lighthouse Dental Practice, you can call us on 01473 257379.

We are here to help you.
If you would like to speak to a member of our friendly team about any of the issues in this article please visit our contact page or call us on 01473 257379.

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“Hygienist, Angela sets you at ease from the moment you walk ...“

Jenny

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“Wow! The service I received from Jane was absolutely fantast...“

Dee D

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“I am 70 years of age, and I have always been afraid to go to...“

Earlmain L

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“I booked an emergency treatment appointment, having had a to...“

Ginette S

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“As a nervous patient, I was very worried about having my too...“

Susannah B

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“Having not been to a dentist in over 25 years, I was a bag o...“

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stars 1

“Hygienist, Angela sets you at ease from the moment you walk in the door. She is not onl...“

Jenny

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“Wow! The service I received from Jane was absolutely fantastic; she went above and beyond ...“

Dee D

stars 1

“I am 70 years of age, and I have always been afraid to go to the dentist. A broken tooth ...“

Earlmain L

stars 1

“I booked an emergency treatment appointment, having had a tooth for a few days and was una...“

Ginette S

stars 1

“As a nervous patient, I was very worried about having my tooth removed. I was instantly pu...“

Susannah B

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