Deep Clean (Periodontal Treatment)
A deep clean is a straight forward procedure, similar to your regular cleaning, except the dentist goes deeper in the gum to clean out the pockets (gaps in the gums around the teeth), therefore you will be numbed. The dentist recommends this treatment when there are signs of gum disease.
Signs Of Gum Disease Include:
- Swollen, puffy or tender gums
- Excessive bleeding of gums when brushing or flossing
- Bad breath or bad taste in mouth
- Loose/wobbly teeth
- Receeding gums
- Pain when chewing
Gingivitis vs. Periodontitis
We through a lot of big words around in dentistry and 2 you might have before is gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums (gingiva: gums – itis: inflammation). Gingivitis is the early stages of gum disease and can be reversed with good at home oral hygiene, around 30% of Australians have gingivitis. Gingivitis doesn’t cause irreversible bone damage and can be treated with a regular dental clean, however if left untreated can progress to periodontitis which does require deep cleaning.
Periodontitis is Greek for “around the tooth inflammation” (peri: around – odontos: tooth – itis: inflammation) and effects between 26% to 69% of people depending on age, with over 55 being at increased risk. Periodontitis cannot be managed alone and requires support from your dentist.
The procedure is usually done over 2 appointments, one for each side of the face. This way you don’t have the discomfort of having your whole mouth numbed. Firstly, the dentist will numb the gums followed by measuring the pockets of the teeth using a small probe with a ruler. A health pocket is between 1-3mm. Anything over this is a sign of gum disease. A pocket of over 5mm is considered deep and needs periodontal cleaning to remove the plaque build-up within the pocket.
The cleaning process is the same as a regular clean, whereby an ultrasonic scaler is used – except in a deep clean the scaler is used at a higher setting and goes deeper into the pockets. Several weeks after your appointment the pockets will be remeasured in hope that the pockets have shrunk and more invasive options are not needed.
Click here for a short video of what a periodontal cleaning look like.
Is It Painful?
The procedure itself isn’t painful as you will be numb and should not feel anything. Most people complain that the needle used for numbing is the worst part. At iDental Surgery, we like to firstly apply a numbing gel before the needle. Usually the needle feels like a small pinch and goes away very quickly. Some people feel a bit of discomfort/tenderness of the gums after the numbing wears off, which usually last no more then 24-48 hours. You can take Panadol or Nurofen to help with the discomfort.
What Happens If Gum Disease Goes Untreated?
You and your dentist are a team against gum disease. Your dentist will do the best they can to treat gum disease but there is some important maintenance for you to follow to get the best possible outcome.
- Rinse with salty water is a great way to keep your mouth clean and bacteria free, this can be done 4 to 6 times a day. This can also help soothe the gums after a deep clean.
- Improve your at-home oral hygiene by brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing every day. We want to remove the plague from the pockets of the teeth and the best way to do this is using floss in between the teeth. In addition to floss, using an interdental brush dipped in toothpaste can help get those bacteria killing ingredients in between the teeth. At iDental Surgery we recommend and use Piksters but most brands should do the trick.
- Come for your regular six-monthly Dental Hygiene Visit to maintain gum health.