Part of a typical dentist visit is getting your teeth cleaned. However, not all of us receive a periodontal cleaning when we go. We may not even know that a periodontal cleaning is not the same as a regular dental cleaning. To clarify the confusion, let’s go over the difference.

A regular dental cleaning is the one most people are familiar with. During a regular dental cleaning, your dentist or hygienist  removes tartar, plaque, and other debris at and above the gum line. Then your dentist or hygienist polishes your teeth, examines your mouth, and sends you on your way.

While a periodontal cleaning, sometimes called periodontal maintenance care or deep cleaning, also removes tartar, plaque, and other debris, it is a much deeper cleaning. A dentist goes below the gum line to remove any buildup, so that a patient’s gum disease does not become problematic.

During a periodontal cleaning, the hygienist clears out periodontal pockets, which are spaces that form between a patient’s teeth and gums. These pockets collect the bacteria that makes plaque and can cause tooth and gums infections. If a gum infection is bad, a patient’s gums can become swollen and separate from the teeth they hold in place, resulting in loose teeth and possible tooth loss. By clearing the debris in periodontal pockets, gums become healthier, inflammation lessens, and the pockets may shrink.

When a dentist or hygienist performs a periodontal cleaning they use a deep cleaning process called scaling and root planing. Scaling involves your dentist or hygienist removing plaque and tartar from the periodontal pocket. Root planing smooths the root surfaces, allowing the gum tissue to heal and reattach to the teeth.

Regardless of whether you received a regular cleaning or a periodontal cleaning from Dr. Makrauer, it is important to maintain good dental hygiene daily by flossing, brushing, and using mouthwash. These combined with regular dental visits will help fight gum disease or prevent existing conditions from worsening. Visit Huntingdon Valley Dental Arts for your regular visits and more tips on teeth cleaning!