Gum cleaning (Periodontal Cleaning)

Gum cleaning is an important dental treatment for halting the progression of periodontal disease and gingivitis.

Periodontal disease and gingivitis occur when bacteria from plaque colonize on the gingival (gum) tissue – either above or below the gum line. These bacteria colonies cause serious inflammation and irritation which in turn produce a chronic inflammatory response in the body.  As a result, the body begins to systematically destroy gum and bone tissue, making the teeth shift, become unstable, or completely fall out.  The pockets between the gums and teeth become deeper and house more bacteria which may travel via the bloodstream and infect other parts of the body.

Gum cleaning can range in treatment depending on the severity of gum disease:

  1. Supragingival cleaning – The dentist will thoroughly clean the area above the gum line with scaling tools to rid them of plaque and calculus.
  2. Subgingival cleaning – This is the most important step for patients with periodontal disease because the dentist is able to remove calculus from the gum pockets and beneath the gum line.
  3. Root planing - This is the smoothing of the tooth root by the dentist to eliminate any remaining bacteria.  These bacteria are extremely dangerous to periodontitis sufferers, so eliminating them is one of the top priorities of the dentist. This is almost always done with local anaesthetic.

Gum cleaning is recommended twice annually as a preventative measure, but should be performed at least every 3 months on periodontitis sufferers.  Though gum disease (periodontitis) cannot be completely reversed, cleaning is one of the tools the dentist can use to effectively slow down the destructive progress. Gingivitis however can be halted completely by regular cleaning has no destruction to surrounding tissues has occurred.