One of the most common gum disease treatments you will run into is the ‘deep cleaning’ treatment. This is also known as SRP or Scaling and Root Planing Treatment.
Of course, there are other types of treatments at well. A good periodontist will have all kinds of treatments to offer. See my previous post that offers some cautionary advice when choosing a good periodontist
In this post we are going to focus on the most common gum disease treatment, the one I just mentioned : Scaling and Root Planing, SRP or ‘Deep Cleaning’.
You will likely hear about this from your dentist or hygienist. They would only be mentioning to you if they are seeing signs of gum disease. It doesn’t really matter if they call it gingivitis, gum disease, or periodontal disease. They are the same disease process – but perhaps in different stages – the exact meanings are sometimes hard to ascertain as the lines can be a bit blurred.
Be aware that gum disease is something that afflicts a lot of people. Many dental professionals will say that about 75% of people have some gum disease right now. Some estimates have been lower and some higher. Suffice it to say that a lot of people face this problem. It is not at all uncommon, In fact, it is quite common.
So, getting back to the ‘deep cleaning’ treatment. The typical narrative on this treatment that they may tell you is: SRP is for cleaning and scraping away built up plaque and tartar under the gumline.
I’m going to talk about some of the negative aspects of this below. However, I’m not saying that you should not follow the advice of your dentist or dental health practitioner. I did not say that. I am not saying that. What I am saying is that if you have any doubts, you can always go to another dentist for a second or third opinion. You can also raise your questions and concerns to your current dentist which they may choose to answer fairly and responsibly or not.
What are some of the negatives to consider for this type of gum disease treatment?
- This type of treatment typically has to be redone in 1 to 3 years.
- Some researchers feel that this type of treatment can actually contribute to gum recession
- They often have to give you an anaesthetic to complete this treatment.
- It usually costs around $400 per quadrant or around $1500 for the whole mouth – which they might not do at one time but rather on multiple visits. – Prolonging the ordeal.
Let’s talk about each of these points.
SRP or Deep cleaning typically has to be redone every one to three years. The problem is that they may be able to remove, according to their narrative, the built up plaque and tartar from under your gum line, but they can’t stop it from coming back.
The problem may be that the underlying cause is not being addressed. What might that underlying cause be? Your home care. I know it is not pleasant to be told that you have to change something. But please think about it. Plaque builds on a daily basis. Your dentist can only see you every so often. They cannot see you every day. So the real burden of protecting yourself falls on your own shoulders. I suppose if you have a lot of money you could get someone to clean your teeth for you daily, but that just isn’t practical, even if you are wealthy.
Can SRP cause gum recession? – I wish I had saved the link for you, but I didn’t. I once came across a bit of research and there was a footnote at the bottom that said something along the lines of: It is well known that SRP can cause gum recession. I suppose that if you give it a little thought, it isn’t too hard to see where that might be the case. Surely, there are many factors involved, if you have already had a SRP or Deep Cleaning, don’t panic. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you will lose gum tissue. I think the researchers were only pointing out the potential for that to happen.
Getting an anaesthetic – Well the fact that they even have to do this or talk about it could mean there is pain involved in the procedure. I imagine so if they have to dig underneath your gums. What happens when that anaesthetic wears off, will you suffer at home?
It costs a pretty penny. The numbers I quoted above are fairly low. In more expensive parts of the nation, the numbers can be quite a bit higher.
Did I say that you definitely should NOT have this treatment? NO! I’m not saying that at all. I’m just saying that if you feel uncomfortable, you have the ability to go get a second, third or fourth opinion. You have to use your own discretion and choose your own path. But you should remain under the care of a good dentist or periodontist at all times when facing this or any other dental health issue.
What Is This Gum Disease Stuff Anyway?
Simply put, it is an accumulation of bacteria that produce acidic waste products that cause the destruction and erosion of the tissues that support your teeth. It is a problem that mankind has faced for a very, very long time. Even that iceman they uncovered who is thousands of years old, showed signs of gum disease.
What is an accumulation. This is a key point for you. Generally speaking, most dental professionals will say that when your periodontal pockets are greater than 3mm you have gum disease. Conversely, and again generally speaking, most dental professionals will say your gums are healthy when you are at 3mm or less on those periodontal pocket readings.
Why? It appears that when the pockets are greater than 3mm, that’s when the ‘bad’ bacteria can accumulate to a sufficient degree to produce enough collective waste products to start destroying your tissue.
It would seem that when the pockets are 3mm or less, they cannot accumulate to the extent of destroying gum tissue.
Your goal is to get to 3mm or less on those periodontal pocket depths and keep them that way. Who measures them? Your dentist or hygienist should be measuring them at every visit.
If they have not been, make sure you ask them every time you go in. These measurements are your relatively more objective way of knowing if your gums are in danger or not.
More importantly, these numbers can help you to know if what you are doing at home is effective or not. If what you are doing at home is not good enough, those numbers won’t get better. If the numbers do get better, it is an indication that what you are doing at home is helpful or not.
I once faced the issue of having periodontal pockets that were deeper than 3mm. I was also told by both my dentist and hygienist that I needed to have the SRP done. I was even told that nothing else could help me and that I needed that treatment right away.
They even told me that I had to decide right then and there or insurance might not pay for it. Furthermore, I was even told that if I rejected the treatment that I had to sign a waiver that if I lost my teeth, it would be my fault and not theirs.
I asked to sign the waiver. For some reason, they didn’t seem to have a waiver to sign after all. Interesting, no?
I was determined to figure this out. I tried many things and I kept going back. They told what I was doing wasn’t working and I still needed that treatment.
That is until I started using this device. When I went back after using it for several months, they were visibly shocked. I was told by the dentist that whatever I was doing I should keep it up and I no longer needed the deep cleaning treatment.
I was delighted.
Will what I did work for you? I do not know. I do know that I am not alone and that others have had similar experiences with the device mentioned above.
The best part is that due to this article, you know that the best gauge of anything to determine if it worked or not is those periodontal pocket depths. And those measurements would be taken by your very own dentist or hygienist.
I wrote about this experience as well as others in the book What You Should Know About Gum Disease – A Layman’s Guide to Fighting Gum Disease. I also share what I have come to understand about this disease. I’m not a dentist or doctor. I’m just some guy who had to find a solution to his problem. The book can be found in print form here and digital form only here.
I hope you found this article helpful. Please leave a comment below if you have.