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Dental Hygiene

WHAT EXACTLY IS A DEEP ROOT CLEANING?

09/01/2000

Question:

HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF A DEEP ROOT CLEANING? WHAT COULD CAUSE YOU TO HAVE TO HAVE ONE OF THESE? I HAVE SEVERAL POCKETS THAT WILL NOT HEAL, AND I AM NOW IN NEED OF BRACES. MY ORTHODONTIST INDICATES THAT I NEED TO SEE A PERIODONIST FOR RE- EVALUATION BEFORE I HAVE BRACES PUT ON. MY CONCERN IS I NEVER HAD THESE BAD POCKETS UNTIL I STARTED GETTING THESE DEEP ROOT CLEANINGS. COULD THESE CLEANINGS BE THE CAUSE OF THE INFECTIONS?

Answer:

"Deep Root Cleaning", also called periodontal debridement, is a widely used and accepted treatment for most gum infections. Gum infections, also called periodontal disease, are caused by bacteria harboring under the gumline around teeth. The longer the infection is present, the more supporting bone is lost around the teeth, thus deepening the shallow crevice around each tooth. As the crevice, or sulcus, deepens, dental professionals then call this a pocket. A pocket deeper than 3 or 4 millimeters becomes more difficult for the individual`s home care to adequately loosen the bacteria under the gums. The goal of the periodontal debridement is to remove infection-causing bacteria, to stop the infection and prevent further bone loss. Usually after a period of healing, the healing of the gums is re-evaluated. At that time the treating dentist and dental hygienist explain to the patient the extent of the treatment results and make recommendations. If the healing response was good, then more frequent cleanings, careful monitoring and meticulous home care are recommended. If the healing response was limited or poor, additional treatment by a specialist may be recommended.

For this procedure to be successful, two factors are important: early to moderate pockets respond best; secondly the patient must be able to perform daily home care that includes careful cleaning under the gumline and between the teeth.

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Response by:

Marilyn J Hicks, MS, BS
Assistant Professor, Dental Hygiene
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University