Importance of Gum Health
Even though we don’t always realize it, our oral hygiene is just as important to our mouth, tongue, teeth, and gums as it is to the rest of our body. In fact, if we don’t develop a regular oral hygiene routine, it can lead to periodontitis, an advanced gum disease that can have devastating health consequences.
Fortunately, if you do develop gum disease, even the more advanced stages of the disease, you’re not entirely out of options. A deep cleaning, which includes scaling and root planing, is one of the primary ways your dental team can help repair the damage that periodontitis has caused.
In this post, we will discuss damage that gum disease can do to your oral health as well as your overall health and how a deep cleaning can help stop gum disease from progressing.
Why We Develop Gum Pockets
Gum pockets are spaces that form between teeth and gums and collect plaque, bacteria, and debris. Over time, this causes the gums to become inflamed, and bacteria buildup continues until the condition becomes periodontitis.
Patients typically develop gum pockets due to poor oral hygiene. However, if you don’t know what to look for, it can be difficult to tell if you have bacteria-filled gum pockets. If your gums bleed when flossing or brushing, you may have either gingivitis (the first stage of gum disease) or periodontitis (the advanced stage).
What To Do if You Think You Have Advanced Gum Disease
If you think you have periodontitis, the first step is to see your dentist for an evaluation. If your suspicion is confirmed, talk to your dentist about periodontal therapy and getting a dental deep cleaning. A deep cleaning is different from a normal preventive cleaning and can help reverse the course of gum disease.
It is more extensive than a typical cleaning as well and involves a procedure known as scaling and root planing.
What does a dental deep cleaning cost?
While the actual cost may vary from dentist to dentist, some factors include the extent of the damage and your dental insurance benefits. It’s a good idea to check with your dentist beforehand to see how much you can expect to pay based on your unique situation.
Though the cost of a deep cleaning is more expensive than a typical cleaning, untreated periodontitis can lead to more gum tissue loss and eventual tooth loss, so it is well worth the investment to protect your smile and avoid more costly replacements later.
How does scaling and root planing work?
The process of scaling and root planing begins with the dentist, periodontist, or hygienist (depending on your state) applying local anesthesia to the affected area. After the anesthesia takes effect, the hygienist uses special instruments to clean below the gumline.
The scaling process is the removal of bacteria, plaque, and calcified buildup, or calculus, as well as stains from the teeth, above and below the gumline. Root planing involves cleaning and smoothing the root surfaces below the gums to remove all bacteria and encourage tissue reattachment. The goal of deep cleaning is to reduce the gum pocket depth and restore the tissue to optimal health, which in turn makes oral hygiene much easier to maintain.
What To Expect After the Procedure
Depending on the severity of the case, a patient’s gums may be tender for a few days afterward. However, this is the most effective way to treat mild to moderate periodontitis and prevent future damage. Once all plaque, bacteria, and calculus have been removed, the gums and teeth can begin to heal.
It’s important to remember that bleeding gums are a sign of gum disease, so the longer you wait to see a dentist, the more difficult it is to get the problem taken care of.
What To Do Once You’ve Been Diagnosed With Periodontitis
If you’ve been to the dentist and know that you have advanced gum disease, then it is more important than ever to stick to a strict oral hygiene routine—before and after your deep cleaning; brush twice daily, floss daily, and use an antibacterial rinse. Be sure to follow any additional advice from your dentist about how best to take care of your gums.
Good oral hygiene is also the only way to prevent periodontitis from coming back once you’ve been treated for it, so it’s always a good idea to keep up a good daily oral health regimen and attend your routine preventive cleanings. As always, if you’re unsure if something is wrong with your mouth, it’s best to speak with your dentist right away! Are you concerned about your gum health but don’t yet have a dental home? Call us today or request an appointment online for an evaluation.