Yes! There are Different Cleaning Types!
A dental cleaning is just a cleaning, right? Not many realize it, but one size does not fit all. Four different types of dental cleanings exist. The type you receive in the dental office depends on the health of gums and surrounding bone as well as the presence of bleeding. Since gum health varies between people, your dentist will need to check the gum health before administering a cleaning. The types of dental cleanings found in the dental office are:
- The “Regular” Cleaning for Healthy Teeth and Gums
- Gingivitis Cleaning
- Periodontal Therapy (a.k.a. Scaling and Root Planing)
- Periodontal Maintenance
From Healthy to Preventing Disease
The terms above may appear unfamiliar, but we are here to assure you that they are not difficult to understand. The “Regular” cleaning is for folks with healthy teeth and gums. There are two main factors that can lead to a different cleaning when visiting your dentist for the initial exam. The first factor is the measurement of the space between your gums and teeth. You know how those bothersome popcorn kernels get stuck in your teeth? The “in-between” space that the kernel can get lodged into is exactly what we are referring to. We can call them pockets. With pockets larger than 4mm, this spells trouble as it is an indicator of bone damage and gum disease.
The other factor that determines the type of cleaning needed is the gum’s level of bleeding. High bleeding levels can indicate Gingivitis or gum disease (also known as periodontal disease). At this point, your dentist may decide that a Gingivitis cleaning will help you take charge of your health. The Gingivitis cleaning is a deeper clean designed to prevent gum disease and increase gum health long term. Once your dentist sees that your gums are in better health, they may choose to have you go back to a Regular cleaning regimen.
Periodontal Disease is Trouble
Don’t get too excited quite yet. Centers for Disease Control says that 50% of adults in the US have gum disease. Some may not even know it! Even though gum disease does not go away on its own, the good news is that it is totally treatable with, that’s right, a cleaning. When diagnosed with periodontal disease, your dentist will start with the Periodontal Therapy cleaning to get everything under control. After this cleaning, you will have routine cleanings for Periodontal Maintenance generally every 3 to 4 months to maintain maximum oral health.
We return to the idea that one size does not fit all. While the Regular cleaning may be the best choice for one individual, it might not be the best for others. Deeper cleanings are designed to treat the presence of gum disease, which affects more than just your mouth. It can be harmful to your entire body too.
Imagine cleaning your carpet. Even if you clean the surface, there can still be muck underneath causing problems with smell, appearance, and further dirt accumulation. The same goes for your gums. We are definitely here to keep you healthy and prevent complications by using the dental cleaning that will fit your needs.
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