Even the people with the best oral hygiene on the planet have some level of gingivitis – inflammation of the gums. When you come to the office for your 6-month checkup and cleaning, one of the many reasons we clean the teeth is to help combat gingivitis.
However, in some patients, especially those with poor oral hygiene, plaque and calculus (hardened plaque) can build up below the gumline, and in this situation, you need to have what’s called a “deep cleaning” in order to access and remove this buildup. The problem with not having a deep cleaning in this situation is that over time, the buildup can lead to inflammation, and this inflammation can lead to loss of bone and the structures that help hold the teeth firmly in place. This condition is known as periodontitis, and patients with chronic periodontitis (periodontal disease), may start to lose teeth as the gum disease progresses. Thus, deep cleanings are critical in order to help prevent tooth loss!
In contrast to a regular cleaning where we clean the plaque and debris above the gum, in a deep cleaning we clean below the gum. The idea is that if we clean below the gumline (where you can’t reach with a toothbrush or floss at home), the inflammation will lessen, and the gum areas will begin to heal.
While the first treatment is often a deep cleaning it can be combined with a very conservative treatment of laser gum disinfection. A laser painlessly disinfects each of the pockets around your teeth. It allows your gums to quickly return to health. If these preliminary treatments do not achieve periodontal health it can be necessary to perform gum surgery (periodontal surgery).
If you have periodontal disease or are concerned that you might have a problem with your gums, give us a call or contact us to make an appointment for an evaluation, so we can determine if you have a gum problem, and make a plan to help fix it.