Do your gums bleed when you brush or floss? Does your breath smell? Then you a need a teeth cleaning. Not all cleanings are created equal. The types of cleaning you receive is based on the presence of active disease, neglect and past destruction to bones and gums.
Cleanings can be done at three, four or six-month intervals based on an individual’s needs. There are many reasons you may need more frequent cleanings. You may have certain medical conditions that affect your oral health like diabetes or dry mouth (among other aliments), you may smoke or chew tobacco, you may be in braces or have poor oral hygiene, and you may have periodontal disease, hardened on plaque (also known as calculus) that is under the gum tissue or gingivitis.
A regular teeth cleaning removes plaque, external stains and calculus from the portion of the tooth you see. This cleaning is for those patients who have good oral health with no/minimal bone loss and healthy gums or those patients with gingivitis.
A deep cleaning is known as scaling and root planning (SRP) to dental professionals. Deep cleanings remove calculus, bacteria and other toxic deposits from the root of the tooth, under the gums down to where the gum and bone meet. Deep cleanings help to avoid premature tooth loss and is pivotal in controlling periodontal disease. Bleeding gums, bad breath, red gums, swollen gums and gum recession may be a result of periodontal disease.
You may also need a debridement. This type of cleaning is usually completed prior to any regular cleaning or deep cleaning when hardened on plaque (calculus) is so tenacious that a dentist/hygienist cannot collect accurate data to determine what condition your oral health is in. Additional appointments may be needed to completely get rid of the hard deposits on your teeth. These hard deposits need to be removed at regular intervals or they can cause bone loss, spreading of teeth, wiggly teeth, infection and premature tooth loss.