A flawless smile relies on healthy gingiva and teeth. If you do not brush your teeth as often as your dentist recommends, a light yellow bacteria film builds up and turns into dental calculus with time. The bacteria in the calculus and plaque irritate your gingival tissue, causing inflammation and bleeding. Gum disease, in its early stages, is known as gingivitis. When the condition goes untreated, the rash moves down to the tooth root, creating pockets that allow bacteria to grow, causing periodontal disease.

If you suffer from gingivitis or periodontitis in Carson, contact Washington Dental for general dentistry services. We offer deep cleaning services involving scaling and root planing using state-of-the-art lasers and high-precision microscopes to prevent gingivitis from progressing and deter tooth loss. Our dentists use these services as preventative measures and, at other times, as stand-alone treatments.

Overview of Deep Cleaning

In general dentistry, scaling and root planing are also called deep cleaning. Scaling entails the extraction of dental calculus from the tooth enamel, while root planing involves smoothing the teeth's root surfaces and extracting the infected tooth's structure.

When you develop gum disease, gum pockets along your teeth become deeper, accumulating calculus deposits beneath the gum line. Your general dentist from Washington Dental in Carson scales down the tartar and does root planing simultaneously.

It would help if you visited your dental expert more than once for the deep cleaning. Also, follow-up visits are encouraged to ensure the gums are healing and the sizes of the pockets are lessening.

The Objectives of Deep Cleaning

Supragingival calculus forms in the areas of the tooth enamel not covered by the soft tissue, and it is quicker to remove by scaling than the tartar in the tooth sections covered by the gingiva tissue.

Scaling also targets the calculus and plaque beneath the gum line, although the deposits are harder to remove.

On the other hand, root planing aims at removing a thin layer of the cementum containing unwanted toxins, calculus, and microorganisms to reach the root surface. The toxins hinder cell migration after treatment, interfering with gum disease healing. Removing the rough surfaces and defects leaves your tooth root surface smooth, healthy, and clean, promoting healing and preventing bacteria colonization that causes treatment failure in the future.

The exposed surface of the cementum is rougher than the concealed one. The uneven surfaces trap toxins and bacteria that allow the progression of periodontal disease. As pockets form, they create resorption defects that enable plaque buildup. So, extracting the rough surfaces and the defects smooths the root surface, which is essential in periodontitis treatment. The resorption defects and uneven surfaces increase the risk of periodontitis treatment failure. For this reason, we at Washington Dental in Carson use fiber optic lighting to evaluate your tooth root surface after a planing procedure to ensure smooth surfaces. 

Candidacy for Deep Cleaning

Our general dentists at Washington Dental in Carson will advise you to undergo a deep cleaning when we identify periodontal disease signs during routine cleaning. The treatments aid in preventing the effects of periodontitis in your oral cavity.

You develop periodontitis when the toxins and microorganisms in calculus and plaque irritate the gum tissue, causing it to recede from the teeth. The gums' downward movement creates large spaces between the soft tissue and teeth, known as pockets. The holes act as reservoirs for plaque because routine brushing cannot enter these pockets to remove the buildup. However, flossing can help remove some of the plaque, but not all of it. For this reason, a general dentist encourages routine cleaning twice annually.

Healthy gums tightly fit on the teeth, and the average measurement between the tooth and gum line should range from 1mm to 3mm deep. When you develop gum disease, deep pockets form between the soft tissue and teeth as the gums no longer firmly fit around the teeth. So, when you manifest advanced gum disease symptoms like deep, unhealthy pockets, heavy calculus, and foul breath, our general dentists will recommend scaling and root planing.

Even if you have chronic periodontitis, you are a candidate for deep cleaning, and you can use these services to remove excess plaque in the gum tissue and teeth.

You develop chronic periodontitis, or periodontal disease, when bacteria and toxins inflame the gums, causing them to recede. The deep pockets create the right environment for bacteria growth and plaque accumulation. The signs of chronic periodontitis are:

  • Bleeding gum tissue.
  • Shift or movement of permanent teeth.
  • Bad breath.
  • Bite changes.
  • Red and swollen gums.

When the illness is not arrested early, it can cause severe oral health consequences like tooth loss, tooth shifting, and wearing soft tissue and bones. Therefore, when you have these symptoms, talk to your dentist to determine if you are eligible for a deep cleaning.

Several factors can cause gum disease. The common ones include:

  • Aging.
  • Hormonal changes that cause the soft tissue to wear down, resulting in gum disease.
  • Family history.
  • Smoking.
  • Poor dental hygiene.
  • Poor nutrition.
  • Other primary medical conditions.

Preparing for Scaling and Root Planing

Deep cleaning only requires a little preparation. Sometimes, the prepping only involves using a solid antibacterial mouthwash to rinse the mouth. The mouthwash prevents the cold lesions and chapping post-treatment. Besides, it protects the general dentist performing the treatment from contracting contagious viruses and microorganisms. Additionally, when you rinse the mouth with mouthwash before the procedure, you lower the risk of developing gingiva tissue infections.

General dentists have different approaches to deep cleaning depending on the patient’s unique situation. Some encourage deep-cleaning candidates to eat oral probiotics, pulling, and low carbohydrate or sugar diets as part of preparations for the primary treatment. The advice helps prevent oral microbiome disruptions and lowers inflammation. By observing these healthy oral habits, you take the early steps to prevent gum disease and improve your immunity.

During the preparations for deep cleaning, you raise any concerns you have about the treatment. If you fear pain, you can take OTC painkillers before the procedure. Besides, you can opt for CBD oil as a natural painkiller.

When you seek our scaling and root planning services in Carson, we must first establish if you have a periodontal illness.

Furthermore, we will evaluate your oral and general body health history. If you use prosthetic heart valves or joints, you will undergo premedication with systemic antibiotics.

If you currently use blood thinning drugs, your dental expert will suggest putting the treatment on hold until after the cleaning. However, we will only decide after consulting and coordinating with your primary doctor.

The Procedure

The treatment you receive for gingivitis and periodontitis depends on the spread of the disease, its severity, and its response to therapy. The dental expert who performs the treatment also depends on the severity of the gum disease.

A general dentist, family dentist, or dental hygienist can perform deep cleaning as a preventative measure or to treat mild or advanced gum disease. For progressive conditions, you will require a dental professional with additional training, like a periodontist. These experts use special tools to detect, prevent, and treat periodontal illness. A periodontist has three other years of post-dental school, which involves specialized soft tissue training and treatment techniques.

For instance, when you have chronic periodontitis, a periodontist will perform a surgical procedure to extract the hardened calculus buildup and refine skeletal defects.

Scaling and root planing are about extracting the hardened calculus from the tooth surface and roots. The treatments are not separate but part of the early treatment for a comprehensive periodontitis treatment scheme.

If your gum disease is mild and in a solo tooth, you only need one visit to the general dentist for a deep cleaning, which lasts at least two hours. Nevertheless, you will require several appointments to complete the treatment when chronic periodontitis spreads over the oral cavity.

Deep cleaning involves the following phases:

Tartar or Plaque Identification

The first phase of a dental cleaning procedure is the identification of tartar deposits. Your dentist can perform a visual examination using a special light. Tartar below the gum line and in the supragingival area is hard to spot and requires a clean location and sufficient lighting. If you have calculus around the tooth root, the dentist will use an air jet to detect the accumulation in the deep pockets. The air from the jet shifts the gums from the tooth root, enabling the general dentist to see tartar buildup in the root area.

Similarly, your general dentist can use explorers to identify the sites with tartar in your oral cavity. The method utilizes a sharp explorer moved into the subgingival areas of your tooth root to spot tartar. The explorer is inserted vertically into this area, making exploratory hits. The finger pads then perceive the strokes as vibrations through the explorer shank. Once tartar has been spotted, the pointed explorer makes gradual movements until it touches the root surface. The standard space between the deepest section of the pocket and the tartar apical end ranges from 0.2mm to 1mm.

The equipment handle is shifted between the fingers and the thumbs to enable your dental expert to detect surface changes at the line angles.

Administration of Local Anesthesia

You could experience pain and bleeding during deep cleaning. Therefore, your dental expert administers local anesthesia to stabilize the membrane and regulate bleeding and discomfort.

Once the site where the tartar is to be removed has been identified, your general dentist injects local anesthesia into the oral cavity site where tartar extraction is to occur. You will feel sensation loss five minutes after the injection. The local anesthesia only numbs the tartar site, so you will be awake throughout and aware of your surroundings, but you will not experience pain during the deep cleaning. Nevertheless, the injection site will feel tender during and after the treatment.

Dental Scaling

Once the tartar removal site has been numbed, the next phase is subgingival scaling, involving the extraction of tartar on the base of the teeth and below the gums. At Washington Dental in Carson, we do the scaling manually or using special ultrasonic equipment to loosen plaque and extract the hardened calculus.

Your dentist inserts a scaler in the periodontal pockets, making an angle ranging from 45 degrees to 90 degrees with the tooth. The scalar then scraps or cleans the tooth from various access points. A scaler with an angulated shank can enable the dental expert to clean the tooth in a vertical, horizontal, or circular motion.

The pointed end of the scaler can injure your gum tissue or scratch the root, so your dentist must be cautious by activating the stroke. That way, they can be alerted whenever the scaler feels or touches the tooth root.

After all the visible tartar has been extracted and your enamel is free of plaque, the dentist will inspect the areas under the gum line.

It is only after the dental professional is sure that your teeth are tartar free that they polish the tooth surface to remove any irregularities that could have developed from the scaling.

Root Planing

Allowing gum disease to progress damages critical tooth structure components like dentin or cementum. Planing helps remove the damaged structure and smooth the tooth surface to eradicate subgingival bacteria.

The procedure primarily focuses on the tartar accumulated on the tooth root. The process involves deep cleaning below the gum lines and cementum extraction.

The dentin is the layer below the enamel. Root planing helps remove a tiny part of this layer.

If you have inflamed gum tissue, the general dentist will not apply local anesthesia because there is a possibility the scaler can extend to the junctional epithelium without you knowing. After all, you are not feeling any pain.

Scaling and root planing can exert excessive pressure on the teeth, causing gauges and nicks. Sometimes, the tooth can even lose its structure. The ditches are due to disproportionate cementum extraction from the tooth root. Luckily, we understand the risks of deep cleaning treatments for your teeth at Washington Dental in Carson. Our dentists use powerful and diminutive scaling strokes during tartar extraction to prevent ditches and nicks. Immediately after removing the calculus and smoothing the root surface, we use longer planing strokes combined with pressure.

With the tartar underneath the gum margins removed and the surface smoothed, plaque can no longer attach to these areas, allowing your gums to heal and return to their original position.

Post- Treatment

After the treatment, the dentist flashes your mouth to remove any bacteria left in the mouth. They also apply excessive pressure to ensure the gums grow back to their initial position.

If the effects of periodontitis were very severe, your general dentist could see it as necessary to correct the flaws that could have been caused, mainly if it has been recurrent.

At this appointment, your dentist also administers local antibiotics and antimicrobials directly into the periodontal pockets to control bacterial infection or discomfort and boost quick healing. The process is known as host modulation.

Follow-up Appointment

After the procedure, it is crucial to schedule a re-evaluation appointment. It enables your dentist to evaluate the scaling and planing efficiency and give advice on future treatment. Besides, at this meeting, the dentist evaluates whether the treatment has worked or not.

You should schedule the appointment within one or two months of the deep cleaning. The time is adequate for the swollen soft tissue to lessen and the new soft tissue to grow. Besides, you can attempt an efficient oral routine during this period.

The purpose of the re-evaluation meeting is to conduct a dental exam to establish if all the plaque was removed and whether the inflammation on the soft tissue has lessened. Again, the general dentist refers to their records to see the depth of the periodontal pockets and compares them with the current depth to see if they have reduced.

Similarly, the appointment helps your general dentist craft a future treatment plan to manage your periodontitis. No additional treatment is required if the depth is less than 3mm. You only need proper maintenance. Maintenance involves visiting the general dentist three to six times a year for cleaning to avoid plaque buildup and the recurrence of periodontitis. Besides, the dentist examines your gums during the visit to monitor your pockets and their sizes. Nevertheless, when the depth exceeds 3mm after the initial deep cleaning, you will require an additional nonsurgical procedure, including medication like a local antibiotic or antimicrobial.

When you suffer from advanced periodontal disease, your general dentist will recommend surgical intervention to reduce the pockets and prevent bone loss through rejuvenation or regeneration therapy. If you have undergone more than one deep cleaning procedure, it is time to consider surgical intervention for the problem.

Expectations After the Procedure

After the scaling and planing, the red color of your gum tissue lessens, and the inflammation reduces. Also, you will be less susceptible to bleeding in the gums. However, you could experience some complications after the treatment. One of these complications is pain or throbbing around the deep cleaning site. Nevertheless, this should only continue a day or three after the procedure. If the pain does not stop after three days, you should return to the dentist.

Other side effects are:

  • Bleeding in the gums when brushing.
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold foods or drinks.
  • Pain in the jaws.
  • Fever.

Aftercare Guidelines

You can prevent the side effects and complications by being cautious about your diet. Steer clear of popcorn, crunchy foods, seeds, and nuts because they can slow recovery.

If you experience pain and sensitivity in the mouth, you can take OTC painkillers. When the sensitivity does not subside, you can use desensitizing toothpaste.

Also, maintain proper oral hygiene by brushing your teeth. However, wait to floss until three days are over.

Twenty-four hours after the procedure, use salty water to rinse your mouth at least four times daily to keep the site infection-free and tidy.

Furthermore, you should expect tooth sensitivity that will likely last around seven days. Again, you will experience bruising and inflammation, although you can solve the problem with icing.

Lastly, avoid tobacco smoking because it slows down your recovery.

Deep Cleaning Costs

Routine teeth cleaning costs approximately $70 to $150, while scaling and planing cost $250 to $400 per quadrant. If you have active periodontitis, the dentist administers local antibiotics or antimicrobials directly to the affected teeth for $75 per tooth. Maintenance after the deep cleaning costs approximately $120. Nevertheless, several factors affect the price of the services, including:

  • The location of the general dentistry clinic.
  • The severity of the periodontitis.
  • The dental professionals involved in the procedure.
  • Maintenance costs of the treatment.

Additional procedures like X-rays used for periodontitis diagnosis also affect the price of the services.

Refrain from letting the price of these general dentistry services discourage you from undergoing the treatment. You can cut the cost by talking to your health insurer to determine if they provide coverage for scaling and planing. If your insurer offers coverage, they can help reduce the overall cost of treatment by half.

Also, many general dentists offer flexible payment plans that help you foot the bill depending on your financial capability. You can even request a discount plan.

Advantages of Deep Cleaning

If you suffer from gum disease, deep cleaning is the proper treatment to prevent the progression of the disease and boost your oral health. The procedure also plays a preventative role. The common advantages of the treatment are:

  • It stops the progression of gingivitis and helps the gums regain their original firmness.
  • By arresting gum disease and reducing deep pockets, deep cleaning prevents tooth loss.
  • The treatment protects your tooth root from calculus and plaque accumulation.
  • It prevents bad breath by treating periodontitis.
  • It protects your teeth from cavities.

Find a Skilled General Dentistry Service Near Me

Periodontitis can result in tooth loss if not treated early. Thankfully, deep cleaning is an active preventative measure and treatment. Therefore, when you experience symptoms of gum disease, do not hesitate to contact Washington Dental in Carson at 310-217-1507 to determine if you are a candidate for deep cleaning.