Dental Deep Cleaning

A routine visit to the dentist usually involves a dental cleaning, which is a simple procedure when your oral health is good. A professional cleaning cleans each tooth individually, as well as cleaning your gums and usually delivering fluoride to your teeth to keep the enamel strong and prevent cavities. If you are told that you need a deep cleaning, that means there’s a problem with plaque and tartar. A deep cleaning is more involved, and has to get below the gumline to remove plaque and tartar and reverse gum disease. To understand what a deep cleaning is, let’s first look at gum disease and what happens when it moves below the gumline.


Gum disease in its earliest form is called gingivitis. It happens when bacteria grows and causes inflammation of the gum tissue. Sticky plaque and hard tartar form, and without treatment, the disease will work its way to the roots of your teeth. Gingivitis can be reversed with a simple dental cleaning.


When gingivitis spreads and plaque and tartar are present below the gums, the diagnosis is periodontitis. At this stage, a deep cleaning is necessary. If periodontitis is not treated, the teeth can become loose and in time, tooth loss will occur.

Deep Cleaning

A deep cleaning performed at a dental clinic is a two-stage process, also called scaling and root planing. The first stage scrapes off plaque and tartar from the teeth and the area below the gums. A special tool is used to gently lift the gums and clean behind them and near the root. After this is accomplished, root planing is a literal smoothing of the root area, which helps healing and inhibits bacteria by providing a smooth surface that is difficult for bacteria to cling to.

After a Deep Cleaning

A deep cleaning can reverse periodontitis, but in more serious cases of advanced gum disease, gum surgery may be necessary. You should follow the instructions of the dentist after deep cleaning. Recovery time is usually quite quick.

Preventing Gum Disease

Regular brushing and flossing is essential to good oral health, and it is just as important to visit the dentist for routine checkups. When you come into a dental clinic for a checkup, any early signs of gum disease can be detected when a simple cleaning can reverse the disease. Remember that sometimes you can get gingivitis even if you take good care of your teeth, because it can be a side effect of illness or medications or even be genetic. No one is immune to gum disease, so keep regular dental appointments to catch the problem when it is easier to treat. If you would like more information, Your Smile Dental Care has additional resources available.