Regular Dental Cleaning vs. Deep Dental Cleaning

You know that brushing your teeth at least twice a day is the best way to take care of your oral health, but it’s also important to see your dentist regularly for a check up and routine cleaning. For some patients, a deeper clean might be necessary so let’s find out more about the differences between regular and deep dental cleaning and what you can expect.

What Is Regular Teeth Cleaning?

Regular dental cleanings are carried out by your dentist or a dental hygienist. While brushing and flossing remove food particles and bacteria from your mouth on a daily basis, it’s good to have a professional cleaning as part of your regular appointments. A build-up of bacteria in your mouth and on your teeth can harden in tartar or calculus and this can’t be removed by your normal at-home toothbrush. It’s important to get tartar removed from your teeth as it can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, both or which require more dental treatment.

How Does a Dentist Perform a Regular Cleaning?

There are a few steps involved in a dental cleaning:

  • Your dentist first performs your general oral exam.
  • Any plaque, tartar or calculus is cleaned from the teeth and gum line using small metal scrapers. While this may not be the most fun of procedures, it shouldn’t hurt.
  • Any remaining plaque will be cleaned out by a round of flossing.
  • Your dentist may also polish your teeth with an abrasive paste to remove stains and plaque from the surface of your teeth.
  • You may also receive a fluoride treatment, either applied to your teeth or via a rinse.

After a regular dental cleaning your teeth should look and feel smoother, cleaner and healthier.

What is Deep Teeth Cleaning?

As you can tell from the name, a deep dental clean is a more thorough cleaning, usually used for patients with gingivitis, early stage or more advanced gum disease. It is also known as root planing or periodontal scaling and removes tartar and plaque buildup from below the gumline and cleans out the roots of your teeth.

What happens during a deep dental cleaning?

A deep cleaning is sometimes carried out over the course of two or more appointments with tooth scaling on one day and root planing on another.

  • Dental scaling is carried out with a small scraper called a curette or an ultrasonic instrument. Your dentist will remove plaque and tartar buildup from just below the gumline where you can’t reach it with normal brushing.
  • Root planing aims to clean bacteria out of pockets between your teeth and gums caused by gum disease. It smooths the root of the tooth, helping the gum to reattach more strongly.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of A Deep Dental Cleaning?

A deep dental cleaning is necessary if you have, or show early signs of having, gum disease. While it may seem like a daunting procedure, it gives your gums the best chance of a healthy recovery and means you won’t suffer from receding gums or loose teeth. Here are a few advantages and disadvantages to a deep dental clean:

Disadvantages Of A Deep Dental Clean

  • It can be uncomfortable

You can have anesthesia to help with the discomfort that may come from tooth scaling or root planing. Your gums will probably be a bit sensitive after the cleaning.

  • There is a risk of infection

If you have a compromised immune system, you may need to take a short course of antibiotics after a deep dental cleaning.

  • It might not work

Depending on how bad your gum disease is, a deep dental cleaning is not guaranteed to help your gums reattach to your teeth.

Advantages of a deep dental clean

  • It’s an effective treatment for gum disease

As long as you are not in the advanced stages of gum disease, a dental deep cleaning can help restore and maintain gum health.

  • Your gums and teeth benefit

Your teeth are cleaned above and below the gum line, meaning your roots are also cleaned effectively.

  • It’s good for bad breath

If you have halitosis, a dental deep clean can help manage the bad breath caused by gum disease.

  • It’s a common procedure

Because gum disease is a common problem, your dentist has lots of experience in deep dental cleaning. It may be uncomfortable in the short term but it will provide many benefits in the long term for your oral health.

So What’s the Takeaway?

A regular dental cleaning is what you get as part of your routine check-ups and is perfect for people with no signs of gum disease. A deep dental clean is recommended for patients with signs of gum disease or other oral hygiene problems.