There’s no better feeling than running your tongue over your slick new shiny teeth after a dental cleaning. Although regular visits to the dentist and a strong daily dental care routine are excellent ways to protect those pearly whites, sometimes your teeth need a deeper procedure.
If your dentist recommends that your teeth receive a deep cleaning, you may have a few questions about the process, benefits, and what post-procedure will entail.
With you and your oral health in mind, we’ve summarized what a dental deep cleaning is, what to expect after a deep cleaning, as well as some aftercare tips.
First, Why Do You Need a Deep Cleaning?
Dentists will recommend deep cleanings to their patients for various reasons, but here are the most common dental ailments that require one:
- Bleeding Gums
- Receding Gums
- Loose Teeth
- Chronic Bad Breath
Consider this procedure as an extra boost to your dental health when it most needs it. Letting any of these symptoms go untreated for too long may lead to more serious ailments such as gum disease or tooth loss.
What Does Deep Cleaning Involve?
Deep cleanings differ from routine teeth cleanings in two major ways. When tartar and plaque become trapped and build up below the gumline—creating a space between your teeth and gums—a regular cleaning won’t cut it.
Here are the two ways in which routine teeth cleanings and deep cleanings differ:
- Whereas daily dental care practices and routine cleanings remove the built-up plaque and tartar from above the gumline, deep cleanings remove it from below the gumline.
- Deep cleanings may require you to come back for a second visit, with each lasting one to two hours.
Why is there potential for a second visit? Deep cleaning typically involves two sub-processes, periodontal scaling and root planing.
Periodontal Scaling and Root Planing
Periodontal scaling involves the removal of plaque and tartar from below the gumline. Root planing involves removing these same films from the roots of your teeth.
Both of these procedures function to do the following:
- Rid you of built-up plaque and tartar
- Close the space between your teeth and gums
- Assist your gums in reattaching to your teeth
As these processes can cause some discomfort, your dentist, or periodontist, will give you a topical or local numbing anesthetic at the beginning of each appointment.
What are the Effects of a Deep Teeth Cleaning?
As this procedure goes under the gums, it comes with different effects than your average cleaning. In the time after your appointment, here is what to expect after a deep cleaning of teeth:
- Swollen gums
- Minor bleeding
The most common effects post-procedure are mild discomfort and sensitivity. These can be expected to last anywhere from 5 to 7 days and, in some cases, a few weeks. Patients typically can eat, drink, brush, and floss like normal after the first week.1
Fortunately, there are many ways that you can reduce sensitivity and discomfort post-procedure, getting you back to your smiling self in no time. It’s recommended that you observe the following:2
- Avoid foods that require chewing – As your teeth are extra-sensitive post-procedure, you’ll want to swap out the popcorn for a cup of applesauce, or the crunchy french fries for creamy mashed potatoes.
- Avoid foods with extreme temperatures – Your teeth and gums will also feel sensitivity towards hot and cold foods. Your mouth will thank you if you let your soup cool off for a few extra minutes before you dig in.
- Combat swelling and discomfort – You can combat swelling and discomfort by applying an ice pack to your cheeks and taking over-the-counter pain medications.
- Rinse with salt water – Following 24 hours after your procedure, you can rinse with room-temperature salt water to gently clean your mouth.
- Switch to a soft bristle toothbrush – Your mouth will be too sensitive to continue brushing with your typical toothbrush. Switch to one with soft bristles and brush slowly and carefully.
If you have a compromised immune system, your dentist may prescribe you an antibiotic for some days following the appointment. This is to protect you against infection.
What are the Benefits of a Deep Teeth Cleaning?
This procedure has numerous benefits, the main one being the removal of plaque and tartar that has built up on and around your teeth. This can greatly reduce gum inflammation and improve long-term gum health.3
Here are all of the possible benefits of this procedure you can look forward to:
- Stopping the advancement of gum disease
- Protecting your teeth roots
- Eliminating bad breath
- Deep removal of plaque and tartar above and below the gumline
- Treatment and healing of an infection
Once your gums and teeth have healed from the procedure, continue to take care of them by practicing strong dental hygiene. The CDC recommends always brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, regularly visiting your dentist, and flossing once a day.4
Take Care of Your Teeth with West Coast Dental
Scheduling a deep cleaning, when recommended by your dentist, is an important way to prevent gum disease further down the road.
If you’re in search of a dental office, look no further than West Coast Dental for your next visit. Our dedicated team of dental professionals proudly serves the greater Los Angeles area with state-of-the-art dental care.
Book your next visit today.
- Dental Health Society. What Happens to Your Teeth After a Deep Cleaning? https://dentalhealthsociety.com/oral-health/what-happens-to-your-teeth-after-a-deep-cleaning/
- CDC. Oral Health is Important for Overall Health. https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/infographic/oralhealth.htm
- Healthline. The Pros and Cons of Deep Cleaning Teeth. https://www.healthline.com/health/deep-cleaning-teeth#about-deep-cleaning