Plaque is essentially the start of gum disease problems. Plaque is a build-up from bacteria in the mouth and particles from the foods you eat every day.
Once sugars are introduced to plaque, it turns into a tooth eating acid that sits just above the gum line. If regular oral care isn't standard, the acid will start eating at the teeth producing cavities and the plaque can cause gum disease.
Plaque that is allowed to sit for a prolonged period of time can cause cavities, gingivitis, and other problems in your mouth. If it's left longer than that, serious dental procedures may be required to restore your decaying smile.
Tartar is plaque that has had time to harden and is that white (sometimes yellow) substance found at the base of the tooth just above the gumline. Tartar is usually not removed with standard brushing and flossing and usually requires coming in to see us for proper and thorough removal.
Tooth scaling is a service that involves using a tool that is specifically designed to break-apart and remove tartar. We gently run the tooth scaling tool along the front and back surfaces of teeth that have any signs of tartar which effectively cleans the gumline and smooths the tooth enamel. Every time you come in for a dental checkup, tooth scaling is performed to help prevent future dental problems such as cavities and gum disease.
Sometimes, tartar can find its way below the gumline and attach itself to tooth roots. This can lead to tooth sensitivity and more serious issues such as periodontitis and gums that detach from the tooth and recede. When this happens, we will need to perform a deep cleaning (also known as root planing) that involves ridding tartar from your tooth roots and smoothing the rough root surfaces to allow gums to re-attach themselves.
Each person's oral health is unique and the stage and current condition of the teeth and gums will dictate how involved a deep cleaning is as well as how long it takes to heal. Usually a deep cleaning is done one-half of the mouth at a time and healing takes about a day or two.
During a deep cleaning we will numb the areas of your gums where we are working, which will keep you from feeling any discomfort during the procedure. Using a special tool, we will remove any tartar build up that is found on tooth roots below the gumline and we ensure the tooth root gets a smooth finish to allow the gum tissues to start re-attaching itself. Our office uses a special ultrasonic tool that will ensure the quickest and most comfortable deep cleaning as possible and is something some other dental offices do not offer. After your root planing procedure, you may be recommended to take a medication to help control soreness from the procedure, keep away infections and to promote healing.
The benefits of a root planing procedure to your teeth, gums and entire body outweigh the serious problems that can happen if gum disease is left untreated. Every dental insurance provider is different in some ways and many set a specific limit, per year, for dental coverage and includes things such as general cleanings and dental x-rays but often enough the need for a deep cleaning can go beyond this limit but it is very important to check. We will be very happy to work with your dental insurance provider to see if you're covered for a deep cleaning. Call us at 302-645-7200 and let us know who your dental provider is and we can get some questions answered right over the phone and then schedule an appointment to have your come into our office for an evaluation.
Is it Expensive?
Fortunately, if you are left paying for a deep cleaning yourself, it is a very affordable preventive procedure that will help keep your teeth and gums their healthiest. We can work with you to come up with an easy way to pay for a deep cleaning. Please visit our payment and financing options page to learn more or call us directly at 302-645-7200 or even request and appointment and come in to discuss your payment and financing options.
Do you need dental work done? Has it been a while since you've been to the dentist? Do you just need a regular cleaning or are you looking for a brand new smile? Requesting an appointment is available online 24/7 and is as simple as submitting a simple form.