A deep cleaning is recommended when a patient presents with some form of periodontal(gum) disease. Periodontal disease can be described as a silent, persistent bacterial infection that can affect your gums and the bone that supports your teeth as well as your overall body health. Periodontal disease has been associated with increased risks of stroke, heart disease, pregnancy complications and other respiratory infections. Click here (Stages of Periodontal Disease) to learn more about the different forms of periodontal disease.
According to the ADA, more than 70% of US adults suffer from some form of periodontal disease. Many patients are diagnosed with periodontal disease on a daily basis, and usually extensive treatment follows that diagnosis. Problem is that sometimes patients don�t really know what they are getting into. They wonder why they should proceed with the treatment or even if they need the treatment at all.
I hate to break it to you, but chances are that if a dentist recommended a periodontal (deep) cleaning, you will most likely need it. But the most important aspect of this process is not only the diagnosis but also to understand the causes of the disease, and how to prevent it in the future. That is why choosing a holistic dentist, someone who looks at the big picture, looks at the root of the problem and spends the necessary time educating you, could be beneficial not only for your teeth, but for your overall health.
So how do you know if you need a deep cleaning? There are some indicators that can help you determine if your gums are healthy or have active bacterial infection:
- Red, swollen and tender gums
- Gums that bleed after brushing or flossing – healthy gums should NEVER bleed
- Persistent bad breath
- Pain while chewing
- Loose teeth
The best way to determine if you have periodontal disease as well as the degree of the infection in your mouth is to measure the size and depth of your gum pockets. A periodontal charting, performed either by the doctor or the hygienist, helps determine the degree of the disease and how much treatment is needed to bring your gums back to health. Your gum pockets are measured in terms of millimeters. 1-3mm pocket depth means normal, healthy gums. Anything above 3mm is considered an indication of inflammation, infection and gingivitis or periodontal disease. On my article “Stages of Periodontal Disease”, I provide a more thorough explanation of the signs and symptoms of Periodontitis and how this disease can affect your overall health. So, how do you keep a deep cleaning within your budget? Many times, when a dentist presents a treatment, it will include many services that can be postponed or maybe avoided. For instance, even though there are many benefits to using an electric toothbrush, if you want to keep your costs down, you can restore your gums back to health using a conventional toothbrush. Another way to save is to do a quadrant at a time or half a mouth. It is not ideal, since you are dealing with active infection, but when finances are a problem, doing some work is better than no work at all. Finally, start brushing and flossing! The simple act of brushing and flossing on a regular basis may significantly decrease (but will not eliminate) the active infection, and may also help decrease the cost of the treatment. You can also use an antiseptic mouthwash, which is used to kill the bacteria causing the infection. In the end, you will need to have your teeth professionally cleaned, especially because most of the infection tends to lay below the gums, where you or your brush have no access. When you do, ask your doctor or hygienist to educate you on how to floss and brush properly. A bad flossing or brushing technique can sometimes do more damage than good.