When Does Your Smile Need A Periodontal Cleaning?

A routine dental cleaning performed every six months helps remove plaque and protect your smile. But what if you’ve been experiencing the warning signs of gingivitis and periodontal disease? If you have risk factors for gum disease, then your Des Moines, IA, dentist may recommend a periodontal cleaning to help restore the health of your smile.

The Causes of Gum Disease

Our gums frame your smile and help hold our teeth in place, which means good gum health is crucial for a whole and beautiful smile. However, when the gingival tissues become irritated and inflamed, this could lead to gingivitis. Unless addressed, gingivitis could grow more severe until the teeth pull away from the gums and form pockets. These pockets allow bacteria to infiltrate them and cause periodontal disease. Possible causes of inflammation could include poor oral hygiene leading to plaque buildup, as plaque irritates the tissues. Other causes may consist of medications, inflammatory illnesses, tobacco use, or a family history of periodontal issues.

Warning Signs of Trouble

You may notice your gums feel sore and look red. They could bleed easily as well. Treatment can reverse gingivitis, but once gum disease develops there is no cure. Instead, routine treatment and better homecare habits will be necessary to manage the disease and prevent periodontitis, the advanced stage linked to adult tooth loss. If you begin to experience changes to your smiles, then please contact our team today. We will perform a detailed exam to identify the cause and assess the severity of your periodontal issues. From there, we can recommend treatment.

The Benefits of a Scaling and Root Planing

A periodontal cleaning, also known as a scaling and root planning, involves using an ultrasonic scaling device to remove buildup from the surfaces of the teeth and the roots. The procedure could take one visit to complete, or up to four, depending on the extent of the buildup. We then polish the teeth. The procedure helps ease inflammation and regular cleanings every three to four months to help protect your smile from periodontitis and other serious concerns. At home, be sure you’re cutting back on sugary foods and drinks that feed harmful bacteria, and make time to brush and floss daily. If you have any questions about treating or preventing gum issues, then contact our team today to learn more.


We know that gum health impacts everything from your comfort to the stability of your smile, so let us know if you notice any of the symptoms we mentioned above. To learn more about our approach to general and preventive dentistry, then schedule a consultation with Dr. Burds by calling Gateway Dental Group in downtown Des Moines, IA, at (515) 244-9565.