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What is Dental Deep Cleaning?

What is Dental Deep Cleaning?

What is Dental Deep Cleaning

What is Dental Deep Cleaning?

Toothaches, sensitive gums, and general oral discomfort can completely upend your day. Imagine having to politely refuse a charcuterie board or abstaining from a glass of wine after a long workday due to the pain of eating and drinking. In the worst cases, even smiling can make you wince.

Herein lies the importance of daily oral hygiene and regular dental visits. Yet, sometimes even these preliminary measures aren’t enough and your dental professional may recommend a deep clean.

What is dental deep cleaning, and why is it important to consider? Let’s dive into general dentistry treatments for cleanings. 

What Does A Dental Deep Cleaning Involve?

Unlike a regular dental visit that’s focused on routine maintenance and care, a deep clean targets issues that are present with the teeth and gums at the root of more serious, developing problems—think gingivitis and periodontal disease

Dental deep cleaning is an intensive process involving two component processes: scaling and root planing. 

How long does a dental cleaning take? Because the process is in-depth and requires time, the deep clean is usually broken up into two separate visits to give your gums a chance to recover. You might also be given local anesthesia to keep you comfortable. 

Here’s how each part of the dental deep clean process works. 


The process of scaling is intended to remove all plaque build-up both above and below the gum line, getting all the way to the very bottom of the gum pocket. Your dentist or hygienist may use a combination of manual and ultrasonic tools, targeting the hard-to-find plaque, bacteria, and tartar.1

Root Planing

Planing—also known as smoothing—the teeth roots occurs after all the buildup has been removed. The process helps prevent additional plaque and bacteria build-up, as well as reduces inflammation, giving your gums time to properly heal. 

Gross Debridement

Depending on the level of plaque and tartar build-up in your mouth, you may need to have more intensive teeth cleaning called a full mouth debridement prior to your dental deep clean. 

Typically reserved for individuals who haven’t been to the dentist in quite a while, a gross debridement might be necessary to be able to fully inspect, assess, and treat the teeth and gums. 

How Often Do You Need A Dental Deep Cleaning?

If your teeth and gums are in tip-top shape, a dental deep cleaning may not be required at all. So, how often should you go to the dentist? Much like changing the oil in your car to maintain its engine, regular cleaning, dental visits, and rigorous oral hygiene can prevent deep teeth cleaning from becoming necessary.

That said, when it comes to tooth and gum pain, the sooner you address the issue, the better. If you’re experiencing discomfort and your dentist suggests a dental deep clean, don’t wait—these intensive cleans are recommended on an as-needed basis.  

How To Know If You Need A Dental Deep Cleaning

Not everyone will need a dental deep cleaning. Risk factors and symptoms of gum disease are usually taken into consideration when determining if a deep cleaning is necessary. 

During a routine dental exam, your dentist may recommend deep teeth cleaning after closer inspection if you have any of the following conditions: 

  • Periodontal disease
  • Gum pocket greater than 3.5 millimeters in size2
  • Gingivitis
  • Bacteria build up
  • Tartar build up
  • Bleeding and irritated gums

Additionally, other risk factors that contribute to the development of gum disease might cause your dentist to suggest a dental deep cleaning as well, such as:3

  • Genetic history
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Pregnancy-related gingivitis
  • Crooked teeth
  • Failed dental bridges and fillings
  • Stress

When gum disease and other oral health issues go untreated, they can lead to more serious problems down the road. Your oral health is connected to the well-being of your whole body, so proactively addressing issues as they arise is essential in maintaining wellness. 

Benefits Of Dental Deep Cleaning

Outside of improving your oral (and overall) health, there are many ways a dental deep cleaning can benefit your oral health and overall wellness:

  • Clears excessive plaque and bacteria
  • Slows the progression of periodontal disease
  • Decreased pain and inflammation

Since it’s such an intensive process, there are a few unpleasant but temporary side effects to dental deep cleaning. Here is what to expect after deep cleaning teeth:

  • Temporary discomfort
  • Tender, swollen gums
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Need for pain relievers and antibiotics

That said, the pros definitely outweigh the cons when it comes to your dental health.

West Coast Dental: Here For All Your Oral Health Needs

At West Coast Dental, we’ve been caring for the smiles of Southern California since 1991. Our state-of-the-art facilities and friendly, well-trained staff bring the highest level of dental care to everything from check-ups to specialized care. 

If you’re suffering from or at risk for periodontal disease, schedule an appointment with us today and get the help you need to get back on the path to good oral health. 

West Coast Dental offers a wide range of dental services in different California locations. Whether you are looking for a dentist in Corona, Riverside, Hemet, Norco, Los Angeles, or a dentist in Long Beach, we are here to help. Contact us today!


  1. Colgate. What Dental Hygienists Do When Root Planing And Scaling Teeth.
  2. NCBI. Gingivitis and periodontitis: Treating periodontitis: Professional cleaning and good oral care.
  3. Cleveland Clinic. Tooth Scaling and Root Planing.
  4. Mayo Clinic. Periodontitis.
  5. Mouthhealthy. Scaling and Root Planing.
  6. WebMD. What Is the Cost of a Deep Teeth Cleaning?
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