Dr. Jamie J. Alexander of Boynton Beach, South Florida offers a deep dental cleaning for patients who need a more extensive dental cleaning. “When you get your teeth cleaned and we find your gums bleed and the space between the base of a tooth and its surrounding gum tissue reaches a depth of 4mm or more, we know you have bacterial inflammation at that site,” says Dr. Alexander. “Treatment that removes bacteria below the gum line and smooths the surface of tooth roots will reduce inflammation and hopefully lead to gingival reattachment. We recommend more diligent oral hygiene at home and more frequent routine dental cleanings when we see 4mm depths. I advise a deep cleaning when gum pockets reach 5mm, because this means plaque is extending down the tooth roots beyond where a routine dental cleaning can remove it.”
A deep cleaning (also known as “scaling and root planing” or “SRP”) is done on one quadrant, one arch, or one side of the mouth at a time so only one part of your mouth is numb at each appointment and you do not have to sit in the dental chair for too long a period. Depending on your circumstances, Dr. Alexander or one of his preferred periodontal specialists will recommend where treatment begins and how many appointments you will need. Each appointment will involve numbing your gum tissue with a topical anesthetic and numbing tooth roots via gentle injection of a local anesthetic. Once you are numb, special instruments that can reach deep into gum pockets are used to scrap plaque from dental roots and polish their surfaces. An antibiotic gel is often applied in the gum pockets. During the procedure you will be comfortable and should not experience much discomfort afterwards. An over-the-counter pain reliever will usually be sufficient while your sensitive gums heal for a day or two and you eat a relatively soft diet.