What is a Dental Debridement ProcedureMunil Koppanati
A dental debridement is a procedure that removes extremely adherent, thick plaque and tartar on teeth, and is typically done when a dentist is unable to see tooth decay or active gum disease because of just how much plaque has accumulated. The procedure is performed before a normal cleaning, and is often opted to be done when there is presence of buildup both above and below the gum line. This is usually required in patients who may have been neglecting proper oral hygiene at home or those who have not seen a dentist for a regular cleaning for over a year.
The procedure itself involves a few key steps. First, your dentist will apply a local anesthetic agent to help numb the affected area. This will help drastically decrease pain during the procedure. Once a few minutes have passed to ensure the numbing agent is working, your dentist will then use different instruments depending on the amount and severity of plaque build up to remove the deposits. Some dentists may use an ultrasonic device when there is significant buildup, as the vibrations from the device can help dislodge buildup more easily.
The procedure can be performed in one sitting, however, the length of time required depends on just how many deposits are present. In general, the longer you’ve gone without a proper dental cleaning, the more deposits are likely to be present.
Dental Debridement (Full-Mouth Debridement) vs Deep Cleaning
A dental debridement is performed before a thorough deep cleaning. The reason for this is that dental debridement can remove calculi that are extremely adherent that may be not be able to be removed by a deep cleaning. Also, a deep cleaning may not be able to properly remove buildup that has accumulated below or above the gum line.
Typically, a dental debridement will involve different instruments ranging from hand instruments to ultrasonic devices that can dislodge hard stuck on plaque. Once this has been properly performed, patients may need to wait some time to allow the teeth and gums to properly heal before a more traditional deep cleaning is performed.
Once your teeth have properly healed, a deep cleaning is done which involves two processes called scaling and root planing. Scaling works to remove more superficial stuck on tartar and plaque, while root planing works to smooth the surfaces of the roots to help prevent any gaps in between teeth.
After all procedures are performed, it’s important to let your teeth and gum heal again. This means avoiding hard, difficult to chew foods, brushing your teeth at least twice daily, flossing daily, using mouth wash as needed, and continuing to follow up with your dentist at least twice a year. Maintaining proper oral hygiene can make it less likely you’ll need dental debridement in the future, and help maintain a beautiful long lasting smile.