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Confused about deep cleaning that I had today



Well-known member
Nov 5, 2014
My dentist said that it looks like I have gingivitis. I went for what she said was a deep cleaning today. I was confused because she didnt measure my gums and didnt numb me. And the cleaning didnt last that long. I have heard that deep cleanings last a long time and sometimes over a couple of visits. Is there something strange about this?. Also, my gums are still red. Can dentists tell just by looking if it is gingivitis or periodontitis?. I have to see her again in three weeks.
No, you can't tell without using a probe if there's gingivitis or periodontitis, did they do some probing at your exam appointment?

I would be a little confused too, based off what you read others have as a deep cleaning , maybe they didn't mean scaling? but just a really good regular cleaning. I would also be curious as they didn't do the measuring and numbers.. Maybe you could call or email and ask want exactly the deep cleaning means?
No they didnt do any probing. She looked on the X Rays last week. They said they were cleaning under the gum but it didnt take long. They gave me some Corsodyl toothpaste and tepe brushes and demonstrated how to use my electric toothbrush after the cleaning. Should i ring or go and complain on Monday?. I was so anxious that I didn't ask about the probing when i was there. I am so distressed.
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Is this in the US? There are some strange rules regarding gum care that are unique to your insurance system.
I believe that there is a difference for the insurance between cleaning above the gum line and below.

I wouldn't get too distressed about this, it could well be that you've had a minor amount of calculus below the gum line, x-rays would show that there isn't serious bone loss and they've cleaned it up. You don't want calculus below the gum line but the presence of it doesn't mean that there's anything terrible going on.

They'll have called it a deep clean to fit in with your insurance cover. Did you get some kind of print out of your treatment plan in advance?
Deep cleaning takes 2-4 visits for complete treatment. Did you went through that?
Maybe it was just a deep cleaning of one quadrant?

I know practically nothing about this, but am having a full mouth deep cleaning in a few weeks. They just did a visual exam of my teeth and did not measure anything. They said I'm borderline gingivitis/periodontitis upon completion of the mostly visual exam and reviewing my CBCT and bite wing x-rays.
It was in the UK. I only had one visit and the cleaning didn't last long. I will try to attach a photo of my gums.
Here is a photo of my gums. I feel embarrassed posting it, but maybe you can help by seeing it?. 20190224_203934.jpg
Just wanted to say you've got some lovely chompers! I'm not a dentist and really just wanted to share that I didn't get any probing either before the proclamation that I am borderline gingivitis/periodontitis and that they recommended the full-mouth scaling and root planing. Sounds like yours was not super traumatic, so I will hold onto that! :)
Thanks courage and bravery asap. My teeth have always been fine. It's just the gums I have always had problems with for years. Any time I feel anything I get panic attacks. I have autism and I cant really tell the difference between sensitivity and pain. I am concerned about the gums near my bottom front teeth as they look very low to me. Since i had the cleaning it looks and feels like there is a hole near a couple of my bottom teeth. There was also a lot of blood during the cleaning, which I found traumatic. The gums have never seemed to improve to me all these years. The pocketing has always been there. As i haven't had a probing, I'm not sure what stage my gums are at. Courage and bravery asap, do your gum problems affect your life?. Mine do. I have other health anxiety besides that too.
Hi there. Hoping others can chime in here. It sounds like you've been pretty diligent about your dental health whereas I am just starting out. I haven't been to a dentist since I was a child, and am starting my journey to get healthy and also because I'd like to become a mom (if that happens for us, as I'm almost 36 and my hubby is almost 40.) So that's why I'm on this forum, getting support, etc, as I have my first experiences. I'm sorry I don't have a ton of firsthand experience with your questions, but hopefully others will contribute too!

My gums bleed a handful of times every month, I'd say, when I brush them. When I started out with a water pik, they bled more often, but I kept up with it and then I'd assume they got healthier. My dentist and doctor have said my gums ideally should be as healthy as possible before we begin trying to conceive. So once I get my root canal finished, I'll go in for my deep cleaning, and I'll certainly let you know how it goes.

I've read that after deep cleanings, "black spaces" or what look like holes can appear because what was previously calculus/tarter buildup has been removed. I've read that the gums might eventually fill in there a bit, but maybe not also. I'm anticipating many "holes" in my bottom front teeth, because that is where I have a LOT of hardened calculus. I'm very nervous about what it will look like after.

But I have to say, I don't see any "holes" in your photo here. We're always our own biggest critics. :)
Do any dentists or anyone else have an idea what stage my gums are from the photo?.

Thank you, courage and bravery asap. It helps talking to others who are going through the same thing. I hope your deep cleaning will go well. I just dont know how to stop this anxiety from taking over my life. I am constantly looking at my gums in the mirror, have nightmares at night and panic attacks when i wake up. And worrying about what i am eating and drinking and when i should brush my teeth and if I am brushing them and my gumline the right way. I also worry that my electric toothbrush might be too big for my mouth or it might be damaging my gums.
Not possible to tell much from that photo, sorry. If there was a lot of bleeding during the treatment then that would imply your gums aren't in the best of health and you needed some attention. Is there still bleeding on brushing now?
You don't look that old in the photo, most gum disease is very slow acting and you would not have major issues until late middle age (like me) so there's plenty of time to get this sorted.
Is that because the photo doesnt look that clear?. I have seen others post their photos here and some dentists have been able to see what they have. I am 34 years old (I will be 35 in May). Sometimes there is a bit of bleeding on brushing and sometimes there is none. Can an electric toothbrush damage gums?. I have a very small mouth and I wondered maybe if using a small manual one might be better?. Which would be best for reaching the pocketing?. I have heard of some younger people having major issues though.

I was born three months prematurely and had a blood transfusion when i was a baby. I wonder if that could have anything to do with why my gums are like this?
Yes, that photo is too out of focus and the colour balance is off, sorry.

An electric toothbrush is pretty safe on gums, they won't normally allow you to use too much pressure or "scrub" the wrong way. Having said that, some electric brushes are better than others, along with most dentists, I'd recommend Oral B.

Make sure that you're changing the heads according to the manufacturer's guidelines, they do wear out and become less effective over time.

Pocketing is a specific dental term, as a rule, you can't clean pockets over 3mm by yourself and you should be getting treatment from your dentist if this is the case. It doesn't sound like you have this...

Gums are mostly affected by congenital factors, by smoking, by hormonal changes during pregnancy and by poor plaque control... I've not heard of a risk factor associated with being born premature.
Is this picture any clearer to you? . There are others I can try posting if not. 20190224_221356.jpg
The trouble is, to really know what's going on with your gums, I'd need to actually examine you... unless I was using a periodontal probe, there's no way to visually assess what's going on.

All I can say from the photo is that your gums look generally healthy, I might be imagining it, but you look as if you have a slightly short upper lip, do you show a little bit of front tooth when your lips are relaxed?
This can mean that your front upper teeth will be prone to drying out. This can lead to mild gingivitis and occasional bleeding on brushing. Is this where you get bleeding from?

I should also point out that a short upper lip is considered to be very attractive and if you look at most women's magazines the model on the front has a short top lip.

It used to be known as "Incompetent Lips" when I was a young dentist, but the name changed due to the number of dentists getting slapped by irate female patients :)

If you really need to know what's going on, the only thing to suggest is to get another check up done, ask the dentist for your BPE score and post it up here.
Here is a photo20190426_131659.jpg
try to take a better photo
facing the light and in focus