A dental deep cleaning is one of the most widely recommended dental treatments.
It's a great way to treat gum disease but is often not needed..at least for not the entire mouth.
Most cases of early gum disease are localized...only in a few areas. Between the molars beasuse it is harder to brush and floss, is where gum disease usually starts.
If one tooth has a cavity we don't fill them all. Yet many dentists and hygienists recommend a deep cleaning for the entire mouth when only a few teeth really need it.
How can you tell which of your teeth really need this treatment?
follow my simple advice.
Your periodontal chart is where the gum pocket measurements are recorded.
When your hygienists measures around each tooth to evaluate the health of your gums.
You can read more about what is included in a periodontal chart here.
Your dental professional should be eager to show you how the chart indicates a need for a deep cleaning.
Your dentist or hygienist should be able to point out areas of concern on your X-rays.
Bone loss and calculus (tarter) can often be seen on the X-rays of those who need a deep cleaning treatment.
This is a little trickier because gum disease in early stages is almost always painless.
But, when your gum pockets are being measured, you should easily be able to feel the difference between healthy gum pockets and pockets that are too deep and have the beginnings of gum disease.
Though they may feel fine most of the time, when they are measured they feel much more sore and tender than healthy gum pockets.
Healthy gums look firm and pink and don't bleed when you floss, brush, or have them measured.
Though time is not the only consideration, it is one factor to consider when trying to determine if treatment is really needed.
If it has been more than 6 months, it is possible that some of your teeth may need a deep cleaning.
If it has been more than a year it is even more likely.
If you never miss a cleaning, have good home care and have never had any gum problems it is less likely that you would need this treatment.
These are averages and there are exceptions.
If you really need a deep cleaning treatment your dentist or hygienist will be able to show you evidence of gum disease on your X-rays, periodontal chart and in your mouth.
Ask them to show you all three and don't hesitate to ask for localized scaling and root planning...a deep cleaning only for the teeth that need it.
After the procedure your gums may be tender and sore but once they recover your mouth should feel noticeably better. Your gums should feel firmer, teeth smoother, and cleaner.
If you don't notice any difference, you may not have needed the treatment.