March 1, 2024

Timing and Importance of Periodontal Cleanings

In the vast field of oral healthcare, the importance of periodontal cleaning often gets overshadowed by more common practices like brushing and flossing. According to the American Dental Association, roughly 42% of Americans aged 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease. This critical procedure not only aids in preventing gum diseases but also has a significant impact on our overall health and well-being.

The complexity of oral diseases has been increasing due to various factors such as lifestyle, eating habits, and lack of proper oral hygiene, reinforcing the need for periodontal cleanings. 

Even though periodontitis is common, it must be treated by a dentist as soon as possible to limit the negative health effects. How gum disease is treated depends on how severe it is, but, in general, the sooner you can get care from a dentist, the better chances you have of reversing the damage caused by periodontitis. 

The following article details the timing and importance of periodontal cleanings; if you are worried you may have it yourself, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with one of the most trusted Boulder dentists - Pearl Street Dental.  

What is Periodontal Disease?

When your teeth are not thoroughly cleaned, bacteria that remain can begin to form a film called plaque. Plaque eventually hardens into tartar, and a buildup of tartar will start to spread toward the lining of your gum tissue. The initial infection and inflammation of the gums and bone that surrounds and supports the teeth is called gingivitis. Gingivitis may cause the gums to become swollen and red and they may even bleed when eating or brushing teeth. When gingivitis progresses, however, periodontitis will set in with much more severe effects including: 

  • Swollen, puffy, and achy gums.
  • Frequently bleeding gums. 
  • Teeth that are loose or fall out completely. 
  • Painful chewing.
  • Spacing between your teeth - begin to look like black triangles. 
  • Receding gum line - gums are pulling away from your teeth which makes the teeth appear longer. 
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite.
  • A pink toothbrush after every use. 
  • Spitting out blood after brushing or flossing your teeth. 
  • Bad breath that doesn’t go away after brushing or returns quickly. 
  • Pus between your teeth and gums.
  • Discolored gums (bright red, dark red or dark purple).
  • Tender, sensitive gums. 

Periodontitis mostly affects adults, and the risk of developing it increases with underlying conditions such as smoking, stress, dry mouth, hormonal changes, diabetes, and more. 

Ultimately, the best way to prevent periodontitis from forming in the first place is to brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day and clean in between the gums with floss once a day. You should also schedule regular checkups with a dentist to keep a professional eye on any warning signs that you may miss. 

What is Periodontal (Deep) Cleaning? 

A regular cleaning by a dentist is of course very important for all people to have, at least once or twice a year. These regular cleans help check for any signs of health issues like cavities, abscesses, or cancer, and they will thoroughly clean your teeth, removing any bacteria, plaque, and tartar. 

For individuals who are susceptible to periodontitis or who already have the disease, it’s recommended to undergo periodontal cleaning as well (also known as deep cleaning). While regular cleaning is considered to be preventative care, periodontal cleaning is maintenance to stop periodontitis from progressing. Without periodontal cleaning, the disease will continue to advance uncontrollably and cause even more damage over time. Once the disease sets in, there is nothing you can personally do to stop it - only dentists can take special action in order to stop gums from receding further and prevent further loss of teeth.

Timing and Importance of Periodontal Cleanings

Depending on how severe the periodontitis is within a patient the treatment options may vary. Treatment can include deep cleaning, scaling and root planing, laser therapy, regeneration surgery, pocket reduction surgery, and more. However, periodontal cleanings must be scheduled regularly to keep a patient’s mouth healthy. 

The frequency in which periodontal cleanings should be scheduled depends primarily on how susceptible the patient is to the disease, but on average these cleanings are scheduled every two to four months. This frequency is incredibly important because three months is the usual time it takes for the periodontitis bacteria to activate the disease again. The goal is always to prevent further spread of the disease and the associated damage from magnifying, so sticking with a tight regimen is highly recommended. If a patient does not stick to their schedule of periodontal cleanings, there is nearly a 100% chance the disease returns and causes even more damage. 

The periodontal cleaning procedure will be evaluated and determined by a specialized dentist, and the frequency and type of cleaning will likely differ depending on the patient and their particular situation. 

Contact One of the Top Boulder Dentists: Pearl Street Dental

Periodontitis is common, but if left untreated, the associated health issues can be severe. Timely and routine periodontal cleanings are necessary to keep your oral and bodily health in check, so don’t wait for the negative effects to set in before looking for help. If you’re ready for a regular or periodontal cleaning for yourself or if you have any more questions before getting started, contact the reputable and friendly team of Boulder dentists at Pearl Street Dental today!