Plaque is a coating of bacteria that causes gum disease. It is constantly reproducing on your teeth and can cause inflamed gums if your teeth are not cleaned properly. When gums are inflamed, they pull away from your teeth and form pockets where plaque gets trapped. It cannot be removed with regular brushing. Gum disease can lead to tooth and bone loss if left untreated.
A deep tooth cleaning involves dental scaling and root planing and will help in the prevention of gum disease. Dental scaling can either be done with ultrasonic instruments, manual instruments, or both. The process begins with the hygienist thoroughly inspecting your mouth. Next, to remove the plaque bacteria, they will use an ultrasonic scaling device with sonic vibrations. This device eliminates biofilm, plaque, and tartar (calculus) from the surface of the teeth and underneath the gum line. A manual instrument may be used to get rid of the rest.
Root planing consists of smoothing out the root surface in order to decrease inflammation of the gums. The hygienist will target rough areas and dispose of biofilm and plaque development. Dental scaling and root planing may require a local anesthetic and could take more than one appointment to complete.