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The Difference Between A Hygienist Clean And A Deep Gum Clean

2019 May 21
by admin

Gum disease treatments explained.

In today’s blog, we are largely going to focus on the ‘deep clean’ that is sometimes carried out for patients who have periodontal disease. Before we discuss this though, let us take a look at the type of more routine cleaning that a dental hygienist does.

Scale and Polish

The cleaning provided by the hygienist at Alexandra Dental Care is known as a scale and polish and is partially a preventative treatment. We will all have plaque on our teeth, most of which will be removed if we brush and floss effectively. Any remaining plaque will eventually harden though, and turn into tartar. This provides a rough surface that makes it easier for bacteria to stick to, eventually harming teeth and gums. It is not possible to remove this with regular brushing.

When the hygienist cleans your teeth, they will ‘scrape’ away the excess tartar, then shatter much of that which remains using a special sonic tool. Finally, a high speed brush will be used to remove any that is left. This treatment will leave your teeth free of tartar and greatly improve your chances of avoiding gum disease.

A ‘deep’ clean

Whilst a scale and polish is a non invasive treatment, a deep clean is anything but. Patients should be under no illusion that this is a very different treatment from that provided by the hygienist and should not be taken to mean simply a more thorough cleaning. Another name by which it is known is ‘root scaling’. This is perhaps a better explanation of what happens.

Rather than being a preventative treatment, a deep clean, or root scaling, is only performed when the bacteria has reached down as far as the roots of the teeth. It also often damages the bone structure that retain the teeth, potentially threatening their loss. The only way to prevent eventual tooth loss is to attempt to remove the hardened bacteria from below the gum line.

Local anaesthetic

Unlike a scale and polish, a deep clean usually requires the use of a local anaesthetic. This is essential as it could otherwise be a painful procedure. In order to clean the roots of the teeth, the tools used will need to be able to go below the gum-line between the gum and the tooth root. The dentist will then endeavour to remove any bacteria from the roots of the tooth and the surrounding bone tissue.

It should be noted that this procedure will not be carried out by the hygienist at our Ashby practice but by a suitably qualified specialist gum dentist, or periodontist.  You are likely to feel some soreness following this treatment and we recommend that you make sure to have access to your usual pain killing medication afterwards.

Avoiding this treatment

Although a root scaling may be an unpleasant experience, it is often essential for anyone whose periodontal issues have become this advanced. It is not inevitable though, and taking time and care to look after your gums with preventative gum disease treatment should mean that you won’t require this. This is best done through an improved home cleaning routine, as well as regular scale and polishing by our in-house dental hygienist. For most patients, this will be done at six monthly intervals, though some patients may benefit from having it done more frequently.

Your gum health is important, so if you don’t do so already, why not arrange to see our friendly Ashby hygienist at Alexandra Dental Care by calling us on 01283 216347.

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