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According to the CDC, 46% of all American adults exhibit signs of gum disease. That’s a staggering statistic, especially considering how important oral health is for overall well-being. Gum disease can lead to tooth loss, infections, and even heart problems.

That’s why it’s crucial to get regular dental checkups and deep cleaning. As someone mindful of their oral health, it’s natural to wonder, “How long does a deep cleaning take at a Chicago dentist?” You might think it takes a long time, but you’d be surprised.
Keep reading to learn more.

What Is a Deep Cleaning Exactly?

A deep cleaning is a dental procedure that involves two steps: scaling and root planing. Scaling is the process of removing plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) from below the gum line using special instruments. Root planing involves smoothing the roots of the teeth to remove any rough spots that can harbor bacteria and cause inflammation.

A deep cleaning is different from a regular dental cleaning, which only cleans the visible surfaces of the teeth and gums. It goes deeper into the pockets between the teeth and gums, where gum disease starts and progresses.

This procedure is usually recommended for patients with moderate to severe gum disease. This condition is also known as periodontitis. It causes the gums to become inflamed and infected and pull away from the teeth.

This creates pockets that fill with bacteria and pus. Periodontitis can lead to tooth loss, bone loss, and systemic infections if left untreated.

The goal of deep cleaning is to stop the progression of gum disease and restore the health of the gums and teeth. It can also improve the appearance of your smile by removing stains and plaque from below the gum line.

The Deep Cleaning Appointment Breakdown

When you come in for deep cleaning, you can expect a very thorough appointment to treat your gum disease and restore your oral health. Our dental team in Chicago will explain the entire process, and they’ll ensure you’re comfortable at every step.

The whole appointment usually takes about 90 minutes at most, but the procedure itself only takes about 30 to 60 minutes, depending on how many teeth need treatment.

Here’s what you can expect.

Checking in and Getting Settled

When you first arrive, check-in at the front desk and complete any necessary paperwork. Then, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss your medical history, medications, and any concerns with your dentist. Afterward, you’ll head to a private treatment room to relax before the deep cleaning procedure begins.

Numbing and Sedation

The process starts by applying a topical numbing gel to the gums in preparation for the injections. Then, a local dental anesthetic will be administered to keep you comfortable and pain-free throughout the treatment. For patients who tend to feel anxious about dental procedures, laughing gas or oral sedation are great options to help you feel at ease.

Assessing Oral Health

Once gums are numb, full mouth X-rays will be taken to evaluate tooth roots and bone levels thoroughly. An exam of the teeth and gums will also be conducted to identify the areas most urgently needing deep cleaning treatment. Based on unique oral health, a tailored approach is crafted.

Scaling and Root Planing

The hygienist will use metal scalers to scrape off built-up tartar above and directly below gumlines gently. Ultrasonic devices that vibrate at high frequencies will help loosen stubborn deposits.

Each tooth will be flossed to remove debris from between teeth effectively. The mouth will be rinsed with an antiseptic solution to flush bacteria thoroughly.

Polishing and Flushing

After scaling and root planing, your teeth will be polished using a paste that removes surface stains and plaque that brushing and flossing miss. A fluoride treatment will then be applied to all surfaces to strengthen and protect tooth enamel. Finally, a medicated paste will be massaged under gums to reduce inflammation and promote soft tissue healing.

Post-Op Instructions and Follow-Up

Your Chicago dentist will set you up for success after the procedure. You’ll likely receive a custom home care kit with a toothbrush, floss, and antiseptic rinse. The dentist will also provide tips on diet, oral hygiene regimen, and medication use. Depending on how progressive the gum disease is, a follow-up appointment may be scheduled to monitor improvement.

Factors That Impact Deep Cleaning Time

Several variables influence the length of a deep cleaning appointment. These include the extent of gum disease, the amount of tartar, and the skills and efficiency of the dentist. Understanding these key elements provides helpful insight into the deep dental cleaning procedure.

Extent of Gum Disease

If gum disease is localized to one section of the mouth, less time will be required compared to advanced disease affecting multiple quadrants. The number of teeth needing deep cleaning treatment also impacts the total length of the procedure.

Amount of Built-Up Tartar

The amount of plaque and tartar deposits below the gumline also plays a role. If substantial buildup is present around teeth and roots, more time will be necessary to remove it. The level of mineralization also affects how long the procedure takes.

Skill and Efficiency of Your Dentist

The proficiency and clinical techniques used by your dentist can influence appointment efficiency. More experienced practitioners develop specialized instrumentation skills to maximize accuracy while minimizing procedure length.

Patient Cooperation

If patients feel calm and relaxed during scaling and root planning, the process will likely be smooth and quick. However, completing treatment comfortably may take longer if patients feel restless or anxious. 

How Long Does a Deep Cleaning Take? Find Out & Schedule Your Appointment!

So, how long does a deep cleaning take? While the average appointment lasts about 90 minutes, the actual time can vary. But don’t worry – our skilled team at Brushin’ on Belmont will work to ensure the best results for your family’s oral health.

This procedure can help prevent tooth loss, infections, and other complications from gum disease, all while enhancing your smile. At Brushin’ on Belmont, we’re dedicated to providing top-notch pediatric, cosmetic, and general dentistry services in Chicago.

If you suspect you or your child might need a deep cleaning, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment today!