Category: Cosmetic Dentistry

Deep Cleaning For Your Teeth – Do You Need It?

Let’s set the scene for you: You’ve come to the dentist’s office for a regular cleaning. Perhaps it has been a while since the last visit to your local dentist in NC. Using a dental mirror, your dentist will have a look around your mouth, inspecting your teeth, and they may decide that you need a additional cleaning, but you’ll need to come in for an additional appointment.

In this case, your dentist would likely be referring to a deep cleaning. This is different from a routine cleaning, which is meant to maintain good oral hygiene. Though you might be thinking that this is some kind of upsell, rest assured—a deep clean is very much an established dental treatment. Its technical term is “scaling and root planing,” and it has been part of dentists’ standard procedure for a long time.

How’s a Deep Clean Different Than Routine Dental Cleaning?

So what exactly is a deep clean and how does it differ from a normal dental cleaning? And most importantly, how do you know if you need it? During a regular cleaning, hygienists will use an instrument called a probe to measure the area around your teeth for pocketing. These are areas between the gum and the teeth where bacteria can gather. Normal pockets should be no more than three millimeters deep. If you have pockets deeper than five millimeters, your dentist will likely order a deep scaling and root planing appointment.

Fake teeth showing process for deep dental cleaning

Deep cleans often involve some sort of localized anesthesia. During a deep clean, a dentist or hygienist will use their tools to scrape away tartar and plaque that has developed around the teeth on the surface of the enamel under the gums. This differs from a regular cleaning, during which a professional will only clean along the gum line. They’ll also reach up along the roots of your teeth to your softer cementum, which they’ll smooth down to prevent plaque from forming in uneven spaces.

After the scaling and planing has been completed, your hygienist will brush your teeth using an electric toothbrush. It may sound a little loud, but using this brush is essential after a deep cleaning. If they don’t do it automatically, speak to the hygienist about flossing for you. Flossing at home is crucial to good dental hygiene, but having a professional attend to your teeth with floss is really helpful. At this point, you’ll rinse with a liquid that has some fluoride in it before you’re all set. A follow-up appointment might be necessary to measure pocket depth and determine whether your gums and teeth are getting healthier.

Why Do Dentists Insist on Deep Cleans?

Deep cleaning is all done in order to protect the health of your teeth, gums, and jaw. Plaque and tartar left untreated can evolve into periodontitis, a form of gum disease. Progressive periodontitis can lead to bone loss as well as chronic and systemic infection and inflammation. Periodontitis is a chronic infection usually due to infrequent flossing and inadequate oral hygiene. Bacteria will have collected in the pockets and spaces below the gum line, and they will secrete an acid that can dissolve the bone tissue that connect your teeth and jawbone.

If left untreated, periodontitis will continue to progress. It can cause you to lose teeth, and your jaw bone may suffer bone loss that cannot be restored. A chronic infection would be treated immediately anywhere else in your body, and your mouth should be no different.

Deep Cleans vs. Regular Cleaning

Comparing a deep clean to a regular dental cleaning is kind of like comparing apples and oranges. If deep pockets of bacteria are present, your dentist might refuse to do a regular cleaning, opting instead to schedule you for a deep clean. This is because regular cleanings can disturb the bacteria colonies existing in your mouth and may release them into your bloodstream.

Why is Deep Cleaning Necessary?

Dentists are serious about periodontitis and not just because it affects nearly half of all adults in the United States over 30. Periodontitis can have adverse effects on your health, impacting issues such as heart disease, COPD, other inflammatory diseases, diabetes, and pregnancy. For pregnant women, this is doubly important—gum disease has been linked to babies with low birthweight and preterm births. It may be frustrating to hear “no” from your dentists during a scheduled appointment, but trust us, your health may depend on it.

Most if not all patients experience a lot of relief after they’ve had a necessary deep clean. Brushing is often much less painful afterwards, and bleeding decreases drastically. If you have financial worries about this procedure, don’t hesitate to talk to our staff. Most insurance companies will cover a deep cleaning, and we file with all major insurance providers. Additionally, we are willing to set up a payment plan so that all people can receive the dental work they deserve.

Periodontitis is a serious condition that can result in the loss of both bone and teeth, but there are steps that can be taken to prevent this infection from progressing. You should visit your dentist regularly to receive cleanings and allow them to measure your gum pockets. If you don’t have a regular dentist in the Asheville area, get in touch with us to learn more. We are always happy to see new patients and our doctors are well trained in assessing periodontitis and deciding whether or not a deep cleaning is right for you.

Share this!

How to Treat Sensitive Teeth After a Cleaning

If you’ve had your teeth whitened before, then you are probably familiar with the boost of confidence that you’ll experience after the fact, as well as the slight sensitivity and pain that’s commonplace.

If you have gotten your teeth whitened in Asheville, you may experience some sensitivity afterward. Don’t worry this is common and it isn’t permanent. Even those with strong, healthy enamel can be susceptible to sensitivity. Regardless of what steps you take to prevent staining your teeth and keep them shining, you may find you’d like a little extra whitening.

Man has sensitive teeth after dental whitening in Asheville

The exact cause of tooth sensitivity following teeth whitening isn’t known, but peroxide (a main ingredient in most tooth whitening products) has been shown to have properites that irritate the tooth nerve. This irritation can cause symptoms like sensitivity to cold and slight tingling. The best approach to deal with potential tooth sensitivity is proactivity, so stock up on products that will offer relief and follow all your dentist’s recommendations for caring for your teeth.

Solutions for Sensitive Teeth

Desensitizing toothpaste and prescription toothpaste with additional fluoride in it can help to sooth teeth that are sensitivite after whitening. For best results, use these toothpastes up to two weeks prior to a scheduled appointment. Adding a bit of potassium nitrate to your whitening tray can further reduce sensitivity, but this substance is only accessible through your dentist, so you’ll have to talk to them about your plans prior to whitening.

Over-the-Counter Pain Relief

An Advil or Aleve can be very helpful in reducing the symptoms of your sensitivity is taken ahead of the application of the product. You want to look for something with anti-inflammatory response.

Avoid Cold Food and Drinks

If you’re experiencing sensitivity, limit the amount of cold food and drink that you ingest. Whitening exasperates sensitivity issues and adding a cold element that can cause some discomfort will not help. Using a straw to drink might also help your teeth avoid some inflammatory substances.

Additionally, overuse of whitening products is not going to help sensitivity. Excessive use can potentionally damage teeth in the long term. When in doubt, pull back on the whitening and give your teeth some time to heal. Either use the treatment less frequently or reduce the duration of the treatment or both.

Be Gentle When Brushing Your Teeth

Be gentle when brushing your teeth after a whitening treatment. Opt for a soft bristled brush and lukewarm water instead of icy cold to take a bit of the edge off your teeth. You could also leave the toothpaste in your mouth for a few minutes after you’ve finished brushing to give it some added time. Be sure that you’re brushing your teeth before whitening, not after. Brushing them after you’ve whitened will open pores of exposed dentin further, which will generate more sensitivity.

Choose Wisely

Do your research before deciding to use one kit over another. Not all kits or trays are made the same; some have more peroxide, who’s properties increase sensitivity. One of the most highly recommended whitening treatments for the home is Crest 3D Whitestrips. They can be purchased online or in most stores.

Don’t let the possibility of discomfort convince you not to whiten your teeth when there are so many good reasons to do it. Tooth whitening is an easy and affordable way to improve your smile and increase your confidence. It also has very few side effects, though sensitivity is known to be one of the most common. There are plenty of ways to address tooth sensitivity following whitening and tips to prevent it. If you are interested in speaking with a dentist about tooth whitening options and concerns, contact us to set up an appointment.

Share this!