Deep cleaning is an unpleasant experience but yes, you need it for a number of reasons. Does deep cleaning your teeth have to hurt? On that score, there are ways to make it less of a chore as well. In this article we will go into the reasons why you need the occasional deep cleaning as well as detail some options that can help you in the future so that deep cleaning is no longer the bugbear that you are expecting(and dreading!). Let's discuss.
What happens in a deep cleaning anyways?
The official terminology is 'Root scaling and planing', but that was a bit of a mouthful, and so now the process is most commonly known as 'deep cleaning'. So what is involved in this treatment? We've broken it down into components for you:
- Plaque attack - Plaque and tartar are targeted during this way, including in the area underneath your gums as well as the areas protected by enamel. Unchecked, you can get dangerous build-ups of plaque and tartar that can result in bacterial acids eroding those pearly whites. It's uncomfortable, but necessary.
- Cementum preventative-maintenance - While enamel protects the upper layers of your teeth, below the gumline you encounter a tooth material known as cemetum. Less resilient than enamel, cementum cleaning involves smoothing down the surface so that they are clean and less likely to irritate your gums.
- Rinse and run - The fun part, this is when the dentists gives you some sprays of water to rinse and clean out any dislodged materials so that you can spit out the water, pay your bill, and leave the dentist as quickly and politely as possible.
How long does a deep cleaning take?
Generally you are looking at about an hour. The dentist gives you an anesthetic for the pain and then gets right to work. Due to the nature of the cleaning, it may not feel like an hour but if you try as much as possible to relax, you may be surprised.
Are there any alternatives to a dental deep cleaning?
Unfortunately, not at this time. One of the reasons for this is that this method has been proven effective again and again. While there is discomfort in the process, there are some clever options and choices that you can make which can really help to minimize the hassle. Options such as:
- Visiting your dentist more often - Wait, what?! Hang on and listen to us for a moment. If you are getting regular cleanings, there is less to clean when it comes to deep-cleaning time. Wouldn't you rather that deep cleaning take only 30 minutes? Besides, imagine how good that smile is going to look!
- Topical anesthetic - Some dentists can apply a topical anesthetic via a cotton swab to the areas being cleaned. This is done in addition to your regular anesthesia. Ask your dentist as this can be really helpful if approved in your particular case.
- Try an electric toothbrush - An electric toothbrush is more efficient and comes with a number of bells and whistles that come in handy. Many can tell if you are brushing at the proper 45 degree angle, for instance. There are even game apps for kids that make brushing fun. Just something to consider.
- Stop skipping your Floss - Skipping the flossing portion of your oral hygiene is something that you will end up paying for later(literally and figuratively). Aside from your standard in-between flossing, make a loop of floss and gently floss individual teeth. This gets some spots close to your gums that you couldn't otherwise access very easily.
“There are even game apps for kids that make brushing fun.”
The reasons that you need a deep cleaning
While a dental deep cleaning does come with a little teeth pain, it is painful for a good cause. Almost half of all Americans(47 percent, actually) suffer from periodontis or it is more commonly known, gum disease. So what is periodontis? Let's describe with little comparison. Gingivitis is a swelling of the gums(which actually can clear right up once that tartar and plaque is cleaned), while periodontis is a condition where the gums are swollen badly enough that your body begins attacking tissue and bone right there in your mouth. Deep cleaning seeks to correct this and typically within no more to 6- 8 weeks your gums will be noticeably healthier. So, as you can see, deep cleaning your teeth will actually prevent pain in the long run. It's all about your perspective.
So deep cleaning is not a scam?
Deep cleaning is designed to halt the progress of periodontis. That said, if your gums are not receding or inflamed it is recommended that you get a second opinion. While it is rare, if you are visiting a new dentist and feel that a deep cleaning is not necessary, there is nothing wrong with checking around. Try a dentist that one of your friends has been using for some time. The reason for this is that measuring the gum line, for instance, can produce varying results depending on the pressure with which the measuring device is pushed. X-rays are not even wholly dependable as they are taking a photo or series of photos which compose 2 dimensions, rather than 3, and thus bone density may not be accurately represented. Bottom line, you need a dentist that you can trust in the first place, so if you are worried then it is quite worth investing in another visit to a different dentist for a second opinion. You'd do it with a regular medical doctor, so why not treat it the same with your dentist?
We've discussed deep cleaning in detail in this article, letting you know what happens during the cleaning, what you can do to make it more pleasant, and how to avoid an unscrupulous dentist. Use this information to your advantage and if you have periodontis, get it dealt with. Your smile is counting on you!