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How Long Does a Dental Deep Cleaning Take?
Dentists may suggest a dental deep cleaning for a patient with symptoms of early stages of gum disease. To prevent the progression of the condition, plaque and tarter must be scraped away from the tooth’s surface. These types of cleanings are called “deep” because the dentist may have to remove an accumulation of plaque along the tooth’s root, so they can take longer than typical cleanings, generally requiring multiple sessions. Know how to recognize the signs of gum disease and how these specialized cleanings benefit oral health.
Dentists have been performing deep cleanings on patients for decades, making it a conventional and uncomplicated procedure. A patient may go through several steps when receiving a dental deep cleaning.
To keep up with proper oral care, patients should see a dentist at least twice a year. These visits increase the chances that a dentist will spot potential problems, like gum disease, before they become permanent. Unless patients notice signs of gum disease that bring them in for a special appointment, the dentist will likely identify the need for a deep cleaning during a regular appointment. A second appointment can be made for the deep cleaning.
Deep cleaning appointments
During a dental deep cleaning appointment, a patient first receives a numbing agent in the area of the mouth to be cleaned, which prevents pain and can make the patient more comfortable. The dentist then uses scaling and planing methods to remove plaque from between the tooth and gums and smooth surfaces of any exposed roots. A full-mouth cleaning may require two separate appointments.
The time it takes for a complete cleaning depends on the severity of plaque buildup. On average, it takes about 45 minutes to clean a fourth of the mouth. Patients typically should plan on two visits each lasting a couple of hours, since the dentist may only clean one side of the mouth at a time.
A single cleaning does not rid teeth of plaque forever. A dentist may ask patients to return for future deep cleaning appointments to keep teeth free of buildup and ensure disease is not taking hold in the gums.
Signs of gum disease
Gum disease is the result of bacteria in plaque releasing toxins into the gums. The early stage, known as gingivitis, is when gums can be most easily returned to health. If a patient already has periodontitis or advanced periodontitis, the road to recovery can be much more difficult. Signs of gum disease include:
- Inflammation and swelling
- Tenderness or sensitivity at being touched
- Bleeding after brushing or flossing
- Bad breath, even after brushing
Patients who suffer from any of these symptoms should contact a dentist to discover what underlying problems may be the cause.
Gum disease can have serious repercussions on future oral hygiene. Knowing how to keep teeth clean at home while getting the most out of regular dental checkups is key to maintaining a healthy bite and smile.
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