What is Deep Dental Cleaning?

A dental deep cleaning, sometimes referred to as gum therapy, is a treatment that cleans between the gums and teeth down to the roots. Like a regular cleaning, the hygienist or dentist will clean the tooth, gum line and sides of the teeth. However in a deep teeth cleaning, they continue to remove tartar buildup down below the gum line to the root of the tooth. This process can also be referred to as a “root planing and scaling” and may require several visits in order to complete the treatment. It is more extensive than a standard cleaning and is designed to treat gum disease and to stop it from becoming worse.

What’s the difference between a deep teeth cleaning and a regular teeth cleaning?

Without consistent oral hygiene, the mouth can become full of bacteria, resulting in a sticky mucus food mixture that lines the teeth called plaque.  This is why a twice daily habit of brushing and flossing is strongly recommended. Routine exams and cleanings help to remove the plaque that builds up on your teeth each and every day. Most of that plaque is found near the gum line, where most of us miss when brushing. Plaque hardens to tartar and that is what dental hygienists clean in a regular cleaning.

If a regular tooth brushing habit isn’t followed, or if you have a genetic predisposition to gum disease, your gums may show signs of gingivitis – red, swollen gums that bleed easily when touched. If left untreated, this can result in periodontal disease, an infection of the gum and bone that support your teeth which can lead to eventual tooth loss.

To determine if the infection exists, x-rays and pocket depth readings are taken into consideration. When there is evidence of this infection, the need for interceptive gum therapy is required with the goal to prevent disease progression. When you hear your hygienist call out 4, 5 or 6, it’s time to take action…yes, the deep teeth cleaning!

To compare a regular teeth cleaning with a deep teeth cleaning is almost like comparing apples and oranges because they are designed to do very different things. The goal of a regular cleaning is preventative maintenance and the goal of a deep teeth cleaning is to stop the progression of periodontal disease.


Deep cleaning is often recommended by your dentist when standard cleaning does not prevent the pockets within your gums from getting larger.  Generally speaking, if those pockets are 4mm or greater, then you are at risk for (or in the stages of), periodontal disease. This makes you a candidate for deep teeth cleaning therapy.  Without treatment, the bacteria that created the pockets in your gums will continue to create plaque, tartar, and bone loss.

Still not convinced? You are not alone.  Some dentist are adamant about patents receiving deep cleaning as the only solution. While other dentist take a slower approach and may address the problem with more frequently cleaning on a every 2-3 month basis, rather than every 6 months. Sometimes this does the job and the dental progression is stopped.

The concern is, that dental health is not just about having a bright smile.  More and more research has shown a direct link between the progression of gum disease and the development of more serious illnesses including heart disease, diabetes, dementia and more.


Deep cleaning can save your teeth, but it does come with a draw-back.  One, the cleaning will have to be done in 4 stages, with each area of your mouth to be numbed due to the deep scaling down to the root.  That will require 4 appointments per cleaning and still be done 2 times a year.  That is 8 appointments per year and most times, the cost is not covered by insurance. You may also be sent to a specialist. Returning back to standard teeth cleaning, will not be possible.

Schedule a Consultation

Questioning whether you need deep cleaning?  Schedule a consultation with out team and we can give you a honest evaluation  f whether deep cleaning would be helpful for you.


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