Let's face it. We all just want the quickest, most thorough and painless dental cleaning there is. And by the way we also want it cheap.
SCALING AND ROOT PLANING vs PROPHYLAXIS
I have wrestled with more patients about this confusing issue in the chair more than deciding to get a root canal, or getting that bone graft or that implant or orthodontic work done. A prophylaxis or tooth scraping (scaling) followed by a coronal polishing is scrubbing the visible enamel surface to remove stain and food 1-3 mm just below the gum and whiten those tainted pearly whites we love so much. HOWEVER... If you have root exposure, bone loss, sensitive teeth and/or bleeding gums you probably have heard you needed a "Deep Cleaning".
Deep cleanings:a misnomer for SCALING AND ROOT PLANING(SRP).
There isn't anything DEEP, Heavy or Metaphysical about periodontal disease. When you have it, you have gum pocketing from the swollen puffy red tip of the gingival triangle between adjacent teeth to the hidden depths of attachment to your roots are ~5mm or more and bone loss can be seen in a bitewing Xray. If left alone, you will lose teeth much faster than if not treated, Removal of the food debris and those that sometimes harden into what I call bug hotels, is important to ensure your body doesn't send out the troops to dissolve MORE bone around your teeth in fighting off chronic infection associated with periodontitis. IF you don't remove the invading plaque and biofilm, your immunity keeps fighting and dissolving more bone. And let's not even think about it if you have diabetes. Uncontrolled Diabetes just accelerates the process of bone loss. Postponing a needed SRP is asking us to allow you to lose your teeth faster.
We have many ways to control and get you back on track by offering our hygiene program. We train you to be a dentist 360 days a year and you let us see you the remaining 3-5 days a year. The good news is you usually only need one SRP visit usually over course of 2 years. Your routine cleaning would be a periodontal maintenance procedure that ensures a more detailed cleaning (no shots) to keep the root surfaces from attracting plaque beyond your ability to maintain the cleanliness, freshness of your teeth and gums.