What is a Deep Clean?

Healthy Teeth Deep CleanA deep clean is a specific procedure carried out to treat gum disease. It is a treatment which is required to remove bacteria and tartar which has formed underneath the gum tissue, resulting in inflammation, bleeding and disease.

Why is it required?

A deep clean is required as an aim to prevent gum disease from progressing further, which will lead to destruction of the underlying gum structure that firmly holds the teeth in place. People who have gum disease present with pockets around the gums. This is when the gum detaches from the tooth, caused by plaque bacteria penetrating underneath. Pockets exceeding 4mm in depth make it very difficult to remove plaque when brushing and flossing normally. These unreachable areas are best cleaned by having a deep clean carried out by the hygienist.
The main aims of a deep clean are to:
• Prevent the disease from progressing further
• Reduce bacterial load underneath the gums
• Reduce bleeding and inflammation of the gums
• Prevent tooth loss

Are there alternative treatments?

1) No Treatment – If you choose not have a deep clean, your gum disease is likely to get worse, with the risk of pain, infection and ultimately tooth loss.
2) Extractions – If the gum disease is already at an advanced stage, removal of the worst affected teeth may be the best option. Your dentist will advise you best on replacement of these teeth with a denture/bridge or implants.

How can I prepare for a deep clean?

• Firstly take any medication you have normally.
• If you are taking warfarin, it is advisable to arrange for an INR reading to be recorded 48 hours prior to your deep clean appointment.
• Please inform the practice of any changes to your medication or health prior to your appointments.
• We recommend that you stop smoking as not only does it make your mouth healthier but will increase the chances of your deep clean being successful.
• We recommend that you have a light meal before your appointments.

Will it hurt whilst the deep clean is being carried out?

For some people it can be uncomfortable whilst having a deep clean. To minimise discomfort, we recommend carrying out the procedure under local anaesthetic.

What to expect after treatment?

• Discomfort – it can be uncomfortable after a deep clean and using ibuprofen and /or paracetamol as you need, keeping to the prescribed dose, is a good idea. Using luke warm water and salt mouth rinses over the next few days also helps. Furthermore, maintaining a good standard of cleaning via tooth brushing and flossing is imperative, which will minimise any discomfort.
• Sensitivity – it is normal to experience sensitivity after a deep clean, using ibuprofen and desensitising tooth paste will help while it settles.
• Swelling – is not unusual and if the necessary using a cold pack, alternating 20mins on and 20 mins off may help. Use this for the first 24 hours only.
• Bleeding- it is normal to experience gum bleeding for up to 48 hours after a deep clean.
• Eating – for the first 48 hours it is advised that you try to eat softer foods, avoiding hard foods, such as nuts/muesli etc.

What happens after the deep clean?

As your gums get healthier you should see a decrease in redness, swelling, bleeding or movement of your teeth. Slight gum recession is common. Teeth may appear longer with spaces more obvious between them. This is a normal response to a deep clean and shows that your inflammation is reducing and gums are improving.

Review Appointment

It is advised you visit your dentist and/or hygienist for a review appointment 3 months after having the deep clean procedure. This allows them to assess the gum health to see if there has been any resolution in bleeding and pocket depths around the gums. Furthermore, it allows them to devise a treatment plan most effective for your future dental needs.

It is very important to remember that the long term success of any gum treatment is dependent on the quality of your care at home, and following the advice of our highly trained therapist/hygienist in keeping everything clean will prolong the life of your teeth.

Ayesha Asghar

About the Author

Ayesha Asghar

I qualified as a dental hygienist and therapist from the University of Leeds in December 2013. Prior to this, I attained a degree in Neuroscience and I trained as a dental nurse. It was during my training where my interest in the field of dentistry developed and I was keen to further my knowledge and skills. This led me to embark on an intense 27 month training programme at the University of Leeds to become a dual qualified dental care professional.

I am committed in providing the best care to all of my patients, in particular those who are anxious and/or dental phobic. I feel it is important in providing patients with sufficient advice and information in sustaining good oral health and preventing oral diseases.