Why Some Dental Cleanings Are Deeper Than Others

Although professional dental cleaning is a standard part of a checkup, some cleanings go deeper than others. What does it mean when your dentist tells you that you need a deep dental cleaning?

Standard Cleanings

The type of cleaning performed by a dentist or dental hygienist will be as comprehensive as it needs to be. A standard cleaning tends to focus on the tooth's crown—the visible section of the tooth that has erupted from the gums. These standard cleanings focus on the entire surface of the tooth, and more-or-less stop at the gumline. 

A Clear Need

Deep dental cleans are performed when a dentist or dental hygienist notes that there's a clear need, and this is noted during your examination. It's not a process that requires extensive preparation, so it can be immediately arranged as needed. It's needed when you're at risk of periodontal disease and may already be experiencing symptoms. 

Root Planing

Although it's typically referred to as a deep dental cleaning, the process may also be called root planing and gum scaling, which gives you a clue about what's involved. A standard dental cleaning (focussed on the tooth's visible crown) removes plaque and tartar (a hardened biofilm of potentially corrosive oral bacteria). If it has been some time since you received a standard dental cleaning, or if your oral hygiene hasn't been as in-depth as it should be, the reason why your teeth and gums need a deep cleaning becomes clear.

Harmful Accumulations

Just as a standard cleaning removes harmful accumulations (plaque) from your teeth, deep cleaning removes harmful accumulations from the tooth's subgingival surfaces (those beneath the gum line), as well as the tooth's support structures (such as its roots). This sensation can be slightly more intensive than a standard cleaning, but it won't be painful or uncomfortable. Numbing a patient's gums prior to a deep cleaning isn't routine, but this is an option for patients with especially sensitive teeth.


Your teeth and gums will almost inevitably feel more sensitive after a deep cleaning, but this feeling shouldn't linger. Your dentist can give you specific aftercare instructions, and you may even be instructed to use fluoride-rich toothpaste for a certain period of time. This simply helps the surfaces of your teeth to remineralize and fortify, which can be useful when plaque and tartar have had an opportunity to gain the upper hand.

Deep dental cleaning is a routine procedure, although ideally, it won't have to be performed each time you visit your dentist. For more information, contact a company like the Family Dentistry Of Woodstock.