What is the difference between a dental cleaning and a periodontal cleaning? Well, that all depends on the condition of your gums. At Dove Family Dentistry, we recommend that you get our Memphis teeth cleaning every six months in order to ensure that your teeth are free of the plaque and tartar that eat away tooth enamel and form cavities. But plaque and tartar also impact your periodontal well-being. They irritate, inflame, and if not addressed promptly, can infect your gums. But the good news is that if you are showing signs of gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease, a dental cleaning (or two) should be sufficient to also act as a periodontal cleaning, ridding you of plaque and tartar, and setting your gums back on the road to their pink, vibrantly healthy state.
It’s when gingivitis is ignored that periodontal cleanings can differ significantly from dental cleanings. As gum disease progresses, it brings with it more obvious symptoms. You are likely to experience signs that may include gums bleeding when you brush, receding gums, persistent bad breath, and even loose teeth, as your gums cease to be a stable foundation for them. At that point, our standard Memphis teeth cleaning will not be effective in reversing periodontitis, the latter stage of gum disease.
Instead, you will need what is referred to as scaling and root planing. This is a deeper type of cleaning that requires our dentist to use hand scraping tools, ultrasonic tools, or both to get down to the roots and clear out the plaque and tartar that are at the center of your gum disease. After you have gotten a periodontal cleaning, your gums should begin to heal and over time they will regain their strength. And while this is an effective method for treating more advanced gum disease, it is our goal to prevent it from ever reaching the point of needing it to begin with. The way to do so is simple: eat a nutritious diet, limit your consumption of sugar, brush after meals, floss at least daily, and schedule a complete dental exam twice per year, including our Memphis teeth cleaning.