Routine visits to the dentist are important for a couple reasons. During this visit, Dr. Ogbara not only evaluates your smile for tooth decay, he also looks for signs of gum disease. If we begin to notice the symptoms of gingivitis and periodontal pocketing, Dr. Ogbara may recommend a deep cleaning.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is caused by bacteria that feeds on the plaque on your teeth. Plaque, also referred to as tartar, is a rough substance that develops on your teeth over time. Your dental hygienist scrapes plaque off your teeth during your regular dental cleanings. Excessive plaque buildup is often the result of missing one or more of your regular dental cleanings.
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, and is often characterized by bleeding gums or soft tissue sensitivity. During your routine exam, our Chicago dentist looks to see whether your gums bleed easily and also checks the size of the spaces between the gums and teeth. In a healthy smile, the gums fit snugly around each tooth.
Ideally, the space should be between one and three millimeters in depth. However, advanced gum disease causes these spaces to increase. When the distance between the tooth and gums is five millimeters or more, these gaps are referred to as pockets. Pockets are an indication that the bacteria which causes gum disease is growing around the base of your teeth. That’s why the American Academy of Periodontology recommends every adult has the pockets in their gums evaluated by a dentist annually.
What is a Deep Clean?
While routine cleanings focus on removing plaque from teeth, deep cleanings go a step further to remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria from the periodontal pockets as well as below the gum line. Dentists generally refer to a deep clean as “scaling and root planing.”
This procedure is typically completed in two distinct phases. During the scaling portion of treatment, plaque and bacteria are removed from the surfaces of your teeth and inside the pockets. Dr. Ogbara then “planes”, or smoothes out the surfaces around tooth root surfaces. By creating a smooth surface, it becomes difficult for plaque and bacteria to cling to the roots.
Once treatment is complete, our dentist will cover the staples of daily gum care and gives patients an idea of the best techniques for protecting their gums from future damage.