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All the below content has been written by Dr. Sandip Sachar.

Top Dentist NYC: Deep Cleaning 

There are two types of dental cleanings that we perform at Sachar Dental NYC. A regular dental cleaning is called “prophylaxis”.  It is performed every six months along with a regular dental checkup.  The other type of cleaning is a “deep cleaning”, also called “scaling and root planning”.  A deep cleaning is performed when we note when bacteria occur deeper than 3 mm within the gum pockets, indicating infection of the gums or periodontal disease.

What is a deep cleaning?

A deep cleaning is an important procedure in the treatment of gum disease, also called periodontal disease.  In the early stages of periodontal disease, a deep cleaning can reverse the disease process, and stop the progression of infection, in order to avoid tooth loss.  A deep cleaning is a nonsurgical periodontal treatment.

The first step in a deep cleaning procedure is making the diagnosis of periodontal disease.  This is done through clinical examination and x-rays.  On clinical examination, if we note that the gum pockets are greater than 3 mm, periodontal disease is present and a deep cleaning is indicated.  A gum pocket is the space between the root of the tooth and the gums.

A deep cleaning differs from a regular dental cleaning in that it often requires local anesthesia in order to make it comfortable and pain-free for our patients.  This allows us to get deeper within the gums to remove bacteria, plaque and tartar.

At Sachar Dental NYC, we perform deep cleanings using both a Cavitron and/or a hand scaler.  A Cavitron is a high-pressure, ultrasound water jet that allows us to remove tartar, plaque and bacteria from under the gums.  A hand scaler is a metallic hand instrument that we use to remove plaque, tartar and bacteria from under the gums. 

For some patients, we may recommend antibiotic therapy in addition to a deep cleaning.  This utilizes a local injection of antibiotic deep within the gum pockets, performed at the end of the deep cleaning procedure.

Important terminology regarding deep cleanings.

The following is a list and description of terms one may hear when discussing deep dental cleanings.  In no particular order, it is important to understand these terms.

Tartar - Tartar is a hard substance found on and between the teeth that consists of food particles that have hardened over time and adhered to the tooth surface.  It also contained bacteria and will cause inflammation of the gums.  Tartar cannot be removed with a toothbrush nor floss alone.  This requires a professional dental cleaning to be removed with our instruments.

Calculus - Calculus is another name for Tartar.

Plaque - plaque is a light-colored, mushy substance that forms on and between the teeth.  A consists of food particles and bacteria and eventually will harden to Tartar.  While plaque can be removed with flossing and brushing, it usually accumulates in areas that are hard to get to with a toothbrush and floss.  Any plaque that remains after flossing and brushing will be removed in your professional dental cleaning.  Over time, plaque is responsible for causing tooth decay and gum inflammation.

Gingivitis - Gingivitis is a term for inflammation of the gums.  Inflammation of gums is caused by an accumulation of bacteria, plaque and tartar.  Normally, healthy gums do not bleed under while flossing and brushing.  Bleeding while flossing and brushing is a sign of gingivitis or infection of the gums.  Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease also known as periodontal disease.  When treated early, periodontal or gum disease can be reversed.

Periodontitis - Periodontitis is a term for infection of the gums and bone.  This occurs when bacteria penetrates deep under the gums and starts to erode the bone that holds the roots of the teeth.  If diagnosed early, this can be treated and avoid the potential for erosion of bone and eventual loss of teeth.  Periodontitis is the number one cause of tooth loss.  Usually, periodontitis does not cause any pain and can be missed.  Therefore, it is very important to maintain a schedule of having a checkup every 6 months.

Gum pockets - A gum pocket is the space between the root of the tooth and the gum.  Normally it is not deeper than 3 mm in healthy gums.  When bacteria get inside, it can become deeper than 3 mm.  This allows bacteria to harbor under the gums and cause gum disease or periodontal disease.

Prophylaxis - Prophylaxis is another word for dental cleaning.  A cleaning is a prevention to prevent gum diseases and tooth decay.

Scaler - a scaler is a dental instrument that is utilized to scrape plaque and tartar off of the teeth and from between them.  It is also utilized to remove plaque from under the gums.

Cavitron - A Cavitron is a medical device that is used to assisting in cleaning teeth.  It utilizes ultrasonic scalers with high-pressure water to remove plaque and tartar from teeth and between them.  It also gently flushes under the gums.

Prophy paste - Prophy paste is the polishing powder that is utilized to remove staining from the teeth.  It is applied with a high-speed spinning brush.

When would I need a deep cleaning?

A deep cleaning is performed when we note bacteria to be deeper than 3 mm within the gum pockets, indicating periodontal disease is present.  A deep cleaning is the first step in the treatment of periodontal disease.  Often, a deep cleaning alone can reverse periodontal disease if it is caught early.

Left untreated, periodontal disease can result in the loss of bone and eventually the loss of teeth.  Additionally, left untreated, bacteria from deep within the gums can spread into the blood and eventually into other organs of the body.  It has been associated with cardiovascular disease and cancer.

How is a deep cleaning done?

A deep cleaning is performed by our dental hygienists and our dentists, or occasionally by our periodontal specialist. At Sachar Dental NYC, our dental experts will decide how many visits are necessary for your deep cleaning.  It ranges from 1 to 4 visits.  For patients that require more than one visit, we will do a deep cleaning in sections, or quadrants of the mouth.

The first part of a deep cleaning procedure is to achieve local anesthesia.  This enables us to clean deep in the gum pockets while remaining comfortable for our patients.  Once we have achieved local anesthesia, we will start to remove all bacteria, plaque and tartar from under the gums and around the teeth.

We will determine if an additional injection of antibiotics is necessary.  This antibiotic treatment is called Arestin and it is a specialized type of antibiotic that was specificly designed for bacteria that cause gum disease.  It works very well to kill bacteria under the gums and around the teeth.

What is the difference between a deep cleaning and a regular dental cleaning?

A deep cleaning and a regular dental cleaning are very similar.  The difference is that a deep cleaning allows us to get deeper under the gums by using local anesthesia in order to keep it comfortable.  A deep cleaning is performed when we note that bacteria is present greater than 3 mm under the gums.

What happens after a deep cleaning?

After you have had a deep cleaning, we recommend a different schedule for your routine professional dental cleanings.  Instead of every 6 months, we recommend having a professional dental cleaning every 3 months.  We will evaluate how deep the gum pockets are at each additional visit.  In some cases, the gum pockets may return to a normal of 3 mm.  If this is the case, we may return to a schedule of every 6 months for your professional dental cleanings.  If we note that the periodontal disease is getting worse, we will make an appointment with our periodontal specialist to evaluate you and determine if a more aggressive periodontal treatment plan is necessary. At Sachar Dental NYC, we have a periodontal specialist on our team and in our office.  Our periodontal specialist is one of the top periodontists in all of New York City. 

How much time does a deep cleaning take?

A deep cleaning may be performed in 1 to 4 visits.  Depending on how severe the periodontal disease is, and how much bacteria needs to be removed, our periodontal specialists will determine how many visits are necessary in order to complete your deep cleaning.  Each session will last between 45 minutes to 2 hours.  After initial consultation, we will let you know how many visits we recommend in order to complete a full deep cleaning.

How much does a deep cleaning cost in New York City?

At Sachar Dental NYC, our charge for a deep cleaning is $250 per quadrant.  The mouth is divided up into 4 quadrants, a left and right quadrant on the top, and a left and right quadrant on the bottom.  An injection of antibiotic, if needed, is an additional cost.  Most PPO dental insurances cover the cost of a deep cleaning and antibiotic injections at 80%.

Does my dental insurance cover the cost of a deep cleaning?

Most PPO dental insurance plans cover a deep cleaning at 80%.  After a deep cleaning, we recommend patients come in every 3 months, or 4 times a year for their regular professional dental cleanings.  Most dental insurances will cover the cost of cleanings up to 4 times per year at 100% after a deep cleaning, and the diagnosis of periodontal disease. At Sachar Dental NYC, we will submit the billing claim for your deep cleaning directly to the insurance company, and get paid directly from them.  We will check with your insurance company prior to your visit and let you know what your out-of-pocket expenses are.  For most patients, you will only be responsible for your percentage at the time of your visit.

Can I use flexible spending dollars or a medical savings account for these charges?

Yes, you may be able to use your medical savings accounts or flexible spending dollars to cover charges related to your Invisalign treatment.  At the time of your service, we will provide you with all the necessary documentation and receipts.

Do you offer payment plans for deep cleanings?

At Sachar Dental NYC, we offer interest free financing through Lending Club and Care Credit.  In 15 minutes, we will let you know if you are approved for interest-free financing.  These options will enable you to make payments over the next 12-18 months without any interest charged.

Why are we the best dentists in NYC for a deep cleaning?

At Sachar Dental NYC, we strongly believe in preventing periodontal disease before it starts.  We are experts in catching periodontal disease at the early stages, allowing us to treat it successfully without needing more invasive procedures.  We encourage our patients to stick to a regular schedule of dental cleanings and checkups.  Our dental hygienists, as well as our dentists, have advanced training in the understanding of periodontal disease.  They are all experts in preventing gum disease and its future progression.  They are also experts in performing regular dental cleanings in order to prevent periodontal disease before starts.

Our dentists and dental hygienists have extensive experience and training in performing deep cleanings in order to treat periodontal disease when it is identified.  Additionally, we have a periodontal specialist on our team and in our office.  He adheres to the Sachar Dental NYC philosophy of performing the most conservative and least invasive treatment options available.  He does not rush to performing periodontal surgery when less invasive forms of treatment may be able to treat the periodontal disease.  However, when periodontal disease has advanced, and periodontal surgery is necessary, our periodontal specialist is an expert in this type of treatment.

At Sachar Dental NYC, our dental hygienists have advanced training in the use of local anesthesia, and are New York State Certified in the administration of local anesthesia.  We take great pride performing our deep cleanings that are comfortable and pain-free.  We have had many patients complement us on their deep cleanings, and let us know that their deep cleanings were much more comfortable with us than their previous dentists.

We spend an extensive amount of time educating our patients on proper home oral hygiene in order to prevent periodontal disease before it starts.  Our dental hygienists, and our dentists, are all compassionate, empathetic and they have excellent bedside manner.

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