Deep Dental Cleaning with Periodontist vs Regular Cleaning with General Dentist or Hygienist !

Does General Dentist or hygienist Clean enough Your Teeth?

Imagine this scenario: You’re at home, brushing your teeth, during your normal routine. You might floss every day, maybe you don’t.  When brushing, you notice your teeth seem to look a little longer.  Maybe they seem farther apart or have shifted a little. Maybe you’ve been chewing a lot of gum because your spouse tells you your breath is bad, even after brushing. You may notice a little blood on your brush, on the floss, or in the sink. You feel some tenderness in your gums or notice redness or swelling.  You decide maybe it’s time to go in for a dental check-up.

Your hygienist or dentist completes an exam and reviews your x-rays.  They probe around your gums, and there’s a good chance you feel like jumping out of the chair.  Then they tell you something maybe you’ve never heard before, or maybe you heard it mentioned in previous visits but didn’t think it mattered.

You have gum disease.  Periodontitis, to be precise.

Your dentist shows you the x-rays that reveal the progression of bone loss, and the buildup of calculus . They show you the size of the pockets between your gums and teeth, where the bacteria collect and cause chronic and systemic infection and inflammation immune response. They explain a common treatment procedure, called scaling and root planing.  They explain the difference between a deep dental cleaning vs a regular cleaning.  A deep cleaning is a treatment procedure that requires anesthesia, and several follow up visits to make sure the infection has been cleared and your gums are healing.

Okay, you say.  I’ll come back and do that another day.  Can you just clean my teeth, so I can be on my way?  Then your dentist says something you never thought you’d hear: I’m sorry, but no.

What is Periodontitis?

Periodontitis is a chronic infection.  Periodontitis is a disease.  Bacteria have collected in the pockets and spaces below the gum line, around calculus (plaque) that has built up, usually due to infrequent flossing and inadequate oral hygiene.  The bacteria secrete acids that dissolve the bone tissue that connect your teeth and jawbone.

Left untreated, this chronic infection can and will progress.  You will lose your teeth, and your jaw bone will continue to suffer bone loss that can’t be recovered or restored.  We aren’t trying to scare you, we’re just stating the facts.  Periodontitis is, quite literally, a symptom of your body destroying itself in a desperate attempt to fight off a chronic infection.   This is not an upsell, this is a diagnosis and a sign of serious oral health issues in the near future.

Like any healthcare professionals, dentistry has a standard of care, which regulates what kind of treatment we can provide based on the condition of a person’s oral health.  Periodontitis is considered a big red flag when it comes to oral health.  A chronic and systemic infection in any other area of the body should be treated and addressed immediately – the mouth is no different.

The Difference: Deep Dental Cleaning vs Regular Cleaning

A regular cleaning, which focuses at and above the gum line, may disturb the colonies of bacteria, releasing them into your bloodstream and into the rest of your body. This kind of  cleaning polishes your teeth, and a deep cleaning removes the bacteria colonies from your mouth.  That’s why there’s really no comparison between a deep dental cleaning vs regular cleaning.

So, no, we cannot clean your teeth when you have untreated periodontitis.  It’s against our ethical and professional standards.  It’s with your best interests at heart.  Maybe this makes you angry – this is a very common response from patients who receive this diagnosis.  Maybe we’ve frightened you.  It’s not our intent to use scare tactics when it comes to diagnosis and treatment.

But nearly half of all adults in the United States over the age of 30 have some form of gum disease.  Gum disease is a huge public health issue, with widespread impacts on health issues such as heart disease, COPD, other inflammatory diseases, diabetes, and pregnancy.

So, what should you do?   Get mad, get a second opinion, but whatever you do, take action.  Gum disease is treatable, curable, and most importantly, preventable.


Is a Dental Deep Cleaning Really Necessary?

First of all, the deep cleaning itself is very much an established dental treatment. The technical term is a “root scaling and planing,” and it’s long been part of a dentist’s standard procedures.

The dentist or hygienist will use their tools to scrape away plaque and tartar on the surface of the enamel up under the gums—not just along the gum line like in a regular cleaning. They’ll also reach up along the roots of your teeth to smooth the softer cementum on the surface to prevent plaque from forming in uneven spaces. The entire process takes about 45 minutes per quadrant of your mouth—upper left, upper right, lower left, or lower right. It may even take multiple sessions to treat all four afflicted quadrants.

If that sounds a little uncomfortable and unpleasant, it is. Patients typically receive a local anesthetic to numb the sensation of dental tools probing under their gums.

While it’s far from the most fun way to spend an hour, root scaling and planing is a necessary treatment for advanced gum disease. The early stages are called gingivitis, when bacteria living in the plaque along your gums release toxins. Those toxins trigger an immune response that leads to inflammation. Your gums become red and puffy and they bleed easily.


How Gingivitis be treated?

Usually gingivitis will clear up once the dental hygienist scrapes off the plaque during your regular cleaning and you take it upon yourself to be more disciplined with brushing and flossing. If not, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis.

Periodontitis, by definition, means the inflammation in your gums has become so severe that the over-aggressive immune response is attacking bone and tissue in your mouth. . The resulting bone loss is apparent in visible gaps that form along your gums, and your teeth can become loose. Left untreated, your teeth might eventually have to be pulled. The best one who is able to treat it, is a SPECIALIST PERIODONTIST

Root scaling and planing aims to halt that process. Once the plaque and food particles are cleaned out, your gums will begin to heal themselves and re-form the tight seal around your teeth within six to eight weeks.

Unfortunately, once you’ve undergone a root scaling, it’s probably not going to be the last time. “It’s a long-term diagnosis, very much like hypertension and diabetes.  “It goes into remission, but it has a tendency to come back depending on how you care for your teeth.” The bone loss from periodontitis is irreversible, making it easier for plaque to creep back under your gums and cause more inflammation. If you’re diabetic or a smoker, you generally have reduced blood flow to your gums that diminishes the region’s ability to heal. Your periodontist may even ask you to come in more frequently for follow-ups—as often as every three months.

Please, do not hesitate to ask Dr. Miski, regarding  your dental cleaning and gum disease.