Check us out on YouTube as we talk teeth #watchyourmouthSpanish
Check us out on YouTube as we talk teeth #watchyourmouthSpanish

How Teeth Cleaning Works: Deep Cleaning vs Regular Cleaning

Introduction to Dental Cleanings

Hi, I’m Dr. Brett Langston. I’m a prosthodontist and owner of Dental Implant and Aesthetic Specialist here in Brookhaven, Georgia, and I’m here to help you watch your mouth.
So you might have some questions about, do I need a cleaning? What type of cleaning do I need? How often do I need cleanings? Is it necessary? I’m here to help you out with some general information.

The Importance of Regular Dental Visits

So, generally speaking, we like to see our patients every six months. And I know that sounds arbitrary, but it really does a good job of giving us a regular maintained schedule of checking in and making sure everything’s healthy, whether that’s oral cancer screenings that we do, making sure there are no lesions, making sure that there’s no damage, making sure there’s no cavities, making sure that the fillings that you have aren’t breaking down, making sure you don’t have any decay around the margins of your crown and bridge work.

If you have dental appliances like a partial or dentures, ensure they’re healthy and intact without fractures. Also, periodic radiographs that allow us to see what’s underneath the bone because we need to make sure, a lot of times everything feels great and it looks great, but there could be something going on underneath the mouth like periodontal disease.

Understanding Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease, I like to equate that to cardiovascular disease. It’s one of those things that it’s silent. Very rarely is it painful, but if you let it progress unchecked, the end result can be pretty devastating. So periodontal disease is basically the situation where the bacteria in your mouth attack your bone, and when they do that, you lose bone and a little bit of bone loss. That’s normal. It happens as we age. It’s one of the wonderful things about getting older, but when you have periodontal disease, it’s at a progressing rate.

And if you don’t address that and don’t fix it, all of a sudden, you’re going to lose so much bone that the teeth become mobile, the teeth can shift, and they can move, or you can lose teeth. And so one of the things that we do is we like to get you in every six months for your regular cleaning, make sure everything looks nice and healthy.

The Role of Regular Cleanings in Oral Health

So what is the importance of regular cleaning? Basically, everyone with good home care does a great job brushing and flossing twice a day. Everyone likes to pretend they floss twice a day. I know very few people do. So, a visit to your hygienist can help get in there and clean all those little areas that you can’t quite get to. One of the things to consider, too, is the mouth is a very difficult environment to clean and maintain because you’ve got saliva, you’ve got food, you’ve got bacteria, you’ve got debris.

And on top of that, your salivary glands dump out super concentrated saliva onto the teeth. And so even if you do a really good job with brushing your teeth and preventing that bacteria from building up, inevitably, there might be a spot or two where you get what’s called calculus, which is basically built-up plaque that’s hardened. And once it hardens, it gets to the point where you can’t really get it off with your toothbrush and floss. So, at that point, our dental hygienists can get in there with their scalers and all their dental armamentarium and really clean up those little areas that you can’t quite get to. When the calculus gets to a point where it’s below the gum tissue, that’s when it’s really problematic because as your body tries to adapt to that foreign object, you start to lose even more bone, and then the tissue becomes unhappy.

When to See a Periodontist

And so at that point, when you have calculus in areas that’s deeper than you can get to, we like to refer you to our periodontist – and our periodontist, I happen to know a really great one. My wife’s a periodontist. They do a really good job of getting in those really deep places and removing that calculus, getting your healthy tooth back so your mouth can start to heal. We share a lot of patients with our periodontists, and it’s good to alternate between their office and our office so we can kind of get a whole picture of your oral health and maintain everything.

Personalized Dental Care Plans

So when you go to a periodontist, a lot of times you’ll get what’s called scaling and root planning, and that’s a process where the periodontist will get you nice and numb and they get underneath that gum tissue and get deep down to where the areas that you can’t get clean to allow your mouth to get healthy. So it’s kind of like a reset, if you will, to allow the mouth to be healthy again.

So, our typical timeframe is six months. Now, that doesn’t mean every patient needs to be on a six-month recall. We have many patients who are on a four-month or three-month recall or on an alternating system between ourselves and the periodontist.

Each individual plan is specific to your mouth and how much individual attention you need to help keep your mouth healthy. So, wherever you fall on the scale of deep cleaning, light cleaning, or just periodic maintenance, give us a call. We’d love to meet you and have you join our team.

I’m Dr. Brett Langston, Prosthodontist and owner of Dental Implant and Aesthetic Specialist, helping you watch your mouth.