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Periodontics (Deep Cleanings)

Periodontics is the part of dentistry that deals with the gums and bone surrounding the teeth. Although many people ignore this part of their mouth, having healthy bone and gums is at least as important, if not more important, as having attractive and strong teeth.


Inflamed, red, and irritated gums is the first stage of periodontal disease. Fortunately, gingivitis is reversible with dental cleanings and improved dental care at home.

Periodontal disease (a.k.a. periodontitis, gum disease):

Periodontal disease is chronic, progressive loss of bone surrounding teeth. It is caused by the body’s response to bacteria living in the mouth. There is no “cure” for periodontal disease, but treatments can stop its progress and allow the remaining bone to support the teeth for many years. Periodontal disease is not painful and, similar to high blood pressure, most patients do not know they have it until they are told by their doctor.

Deep cleanings (scaling and root planing):

Scaling and root planing is one of the treatments most often recommended to patients exhibiting signs of periodontal disease. In this procedure, the hygienist or dentist uses special instruments to clean the parts of the teeth that cannot be reached by your toothbrush bristles and floss. Both soft plaque and hard, calcified, deposits (tartar) are removed from the root surface of the teeth. The goal is to eliminate “pockets” around the teeth that act as homes for millions of dangerous, invisible bacteria.

What is involved?

Dr. Sullens will normally anesthetize the areas of the mouth that are planned for scaling and root planing to ensure your comfort during the procedure. After that, either one of our hygienists or Dr. Sullens will use the appropriate tools to clean the affected teeth. We often schedule half of the mouth to be done at each visit to avoid lengthy appointments and allow less of the mouth to be numb at one time. A patient can expect mild soreness for a day or two after this procedure.