Is Deep Teeth Cleaning Painful?

Patients may require a deep cleaning when there is a build-up of tartar or calculus on the tooth’s roots. Build-up can cause inflammation or swelling of the bone which surrounds the teeth and result in gum pain, bone loss, or even the loss of teeth.


Below are the methods and tools dentists use to determine if a patient requires a deep cleaning:

  1. Clinical Exam – The dentist will complete an exam and determine if there is swelling of the gums or bleeding. The dentist will also evaluate if the teeth are loose which can indicate there is bone loss.
  2. Periodontal Probing – Pockets exist around the teeth which can be measured using a perio probe. Most patients should have pockets which are under 3 millimeters deep.
  3. X-rays – The dentist will use an x-ray. This gives them insight into the bone level and shape of the bone at the tooth’s root. Digital x-rays allow the dentist to determine if there is any bone loss or damage. Based on the depth and angle of bone loss, the dentist can decide if the patient needs a deep cleaning.

A deep cleaning differs from a standard cleaning at the dentist as it is more thorough, and goes deeper below the gumline. In some cases, a deep cleaning may cause some discomfort. The dentist will usually numb the treatment area prior to beginning the deep cleaning to ensure the patient is comfortable during the procedure. Once the patient is numb, they may feel some pressure or vibration, but will not experience any pain.


There are various components which will determine how long it takes the dentist to complete a deep cleaning. This includes:

  • Full-mouth or partial cleaning
  • Severity of the damage
  • Patients level of anxiety regarding the procedure
  • Other issues or medical conditions


For some patients, a deep cleaning is only needed on a few teeth or in a specific area of the mouth. When a full-mouth deep cleaning is needed, the dentist will typically require the patient may two appointments and complete the cleaning on half of the mouth at a time. Half-mouth deep cleaning appointments typically take about 90 minutes. This includes time for post-treatment x-rays and care instructions to follow at home.


Deep Cleaning Cost

The cost for a deep cleaning will vary depending on if the patient is receiving a full-mouth or partial cleaning. Dentists typically bill for one of two insurance codes. One code is used if a few teeth require treatment and another code is used if an entire quadrant requires treatment. Dentists may also charge for medication which is used around the tooth. This aids in ensuring the deep cleaning is successful.


Insurance coverage for the procedure will vary based on the patient’s dental insurance plan. It is important to follow up with your dental insurance provider to determine the expected coverage and out-of-pocket expenses. On average, dental insurance covers about 80% of the cost for a deep cleaning.


Patients often experience some discomfort immediately following the deep cleaning procedure. Once the mouth has healed, below are some benefits associated with a deep cleaning:

  • Bleeding is reduced or eliminated altogether
  • Bone loss around the teeth is stopped
  • Gums are restored and are no longer red or swollen
  • Improved breath
  • Loose teeth are now secure
  • No more pain
  • Reduced sensitivity of the teeth

What Happens During Deep Teeth Cleaning