You have just been diagnosed with periodontal disease by your dentist and need a deep cleaning, leaving the questions, what does this mean, and why do I need a deep cleaning? In a healthy oral environment, there is a shallow space between the tissue surrounding your tooth and the tooth itself. This space is generally referred to as a pocket. So, why do I need a deep cleaning? In some patients, the depth of the pocket is deeper than normal or than is healthy. This condition is called periodontal disease, more commonly known as gum disease, and is diagnosed by probing or measuring the depth of the pocket. Over time, food particles and bacteria begin to pack into this space resulting in redness and inflammation of the gums. If you have been diagnosed with gum disease, you need a deep cleaning, also known as scaling and root planning or SRP, to prevent the progression of the gum disease. If left untreated, gum disease may result in visibly less gum tissue covering the tooth, sensitivity, mobility of the tooth, and even tooth loss.

Deep cleanings are prescribed by a dentist for patients with deep pockets who need to prevent the progression and spread of gum disease by removing debris and buildup in the pocket. After each deep cleaning, the pocket that was once full of bacteria and food particles is now clean. This clean pocket/open space needs to be maintained regularly to ensure bacteria and build up do not re-inhabit the region. As a result, patients will usually follow up with a more in-depth cleaning. This deep cleaning is known as periodontal maintenance and is done more frequently, for instance, every three months rather than six months to further prevent debris and bacteria from harboring in the clean pocket/ open space. Your condition will be monitored based on your body’s response to treatment and your current oral health. It is possible to develop a stable condition after regular periodontal maintenance, resulting in healthier gum tissue, and shorter or stable pocket depths.