Even though you get your teeth cleaned once or twice a year, this isn’t deep cleaning. Deep cleaning is a procedure your dental hygienist performs to get tartar and plaque out of pockets that have formed between your teeth and gums. Flossing and regular teeth cleaning don’t get into pocket areas, nor does regular teeth cleaning.
One of the ways your hygienist determines whether you need deep cleaning is by measuring the size of the area between your teeth and gums — in other words, how deep your gum tissue is between the tooth and gum. Generally, a dentist says you have a pocket when the depth is five millimeters or more.
To measure whether you have a pocket, the hygienist takes an instrument and places it between the tooth and gum to see where the gum begins. Where the gum attaches to the tooth is the base of the pocket. Your dentist will schedule you for deep teeth cleaning when the pocket measures 5 millimeters or more.
Plaque and tartar building up in a pocket make the gums become infected, and this is the beginning of periodontal disease.
The deep cleaning begins with numbing the area around your tooth, and the hygienist will either use manual scaling tools or an ultrasonic scaling instrument to clean out the tartar and plaque between your tooth and gums. Another part of the deep cleaning is called planing. The hygienist removes plaque and tartar from the surface of the roots of your teeth using a scaling instrument. Planing gets rid of the bacteria in the pockets of your teeth. After deep cleaning, as long as you apply proper hygiene, your gums should become healthier. Another benefit is pockets often reduce in size as the gums heal.
At Hutto Hippo Family Dental, we want our patients to understand and know what to expect. It helps make your dental experience as pleasant as possible.