One of the main things people want from a dental office is a good cleaning. We have licensed hygienists who can take care of that for you. There are different kinds of cleanings, however, and what each patient needs is determined at an Initial Examination.

Once your gums are measured at that initial, comprehensive exam, you will be prescribed one of two types of cleanings: (1) regular cleaning or (2) “deep” cleaning.

Regular Cleaning

In insurance terms, this is called a “prophylaxis.” This means you have no gum disease or loss of bone around your teeth and we are cleaning your teeth and gums to make sure no disease gets started. A typical regular cleaning consists of:

  • Cavitron – When necessary, this is an ultrasonic instrument that breaks up large build-up.
  • Hand scaling – This is the hygienist using her instruments to clean each tooth.
  • Floss and polish – This is done to clean in between the teeth and to make them shiny.
  • Fluoride treatment – During this optional treatment, we apply topical fluoride to strengthen your teeth against decay.

“Deep” Cleaning

The technical term for this is “Scaling and Root Planing.” This procedure is recommended when a person has:

  • Significant calculus buildup on the teeth and under the gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Bone disappearing around the teeth (indicated by gum measurements deeper than 3mm)

When enough of these signs are present, you may be diagnosed with periodontal disease.

If periodontal disease goes untreated, the bone around the teeth continues to disappear and later, the teeth get loose and have to come out – even if there’s nothing wrong with the tooth itself! The problem at that point is that nothing is holding the teeth in place.

While we can’t bring the bone back up, we can slow it down or even stop it from disappearing any further with a combination of treatment (the scaling and root planing) and good home care with some coaching from our hygienists.

So, What Is Scaling and Root Planing?

As long as the bone hasn’t disappeared too much, scaling and root planing would be:

  • Getting Numb – Most patients need to be numb because the hygienist has to clean well under the gums. Some people need to get totally numb while others just need the gums to be numb.
  • Cavitron & Handscaling – These treatments are similar to a regular cleaning, but due to the bone loss and buildup, the hygienist has to clean deeper under the gums and more extensively.
  • Rinse – Frequently, your hygienist may have you rinse out with a special antibacterial mouthwash to kill germs.
  • Visits – Due to the extra effort involved, if you need many teeth cleaned this way, a round of scaling and root planing often takes multiple visits to get done. We go by the four corners of the mouth – upper left, lower left, upper right, and lower right.

How Do I Know Which One I Need?

Give us a call at 719-285-4784 and setup an Initial Visit at our Canon City dental office. Once we’ve measured your gums and looked at your x-rays, we can let you know. See you soon!

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