What Happens During Deep Teeth Cleaning?

It is very important for patients to practice good oral hygiene. This aids in preventing bad breath, gum disease, and other serious issues which can develop. Good oral hygiene includes brushing the teeth at least twice each day and daily flossing. Patients should also make regular visits to the dentist for an exam and professional cleaning.


In some cases, the patient’s dentist may suggest they receive a deep cleaning or periodontal scaling or root planing. Some common signs which suggest that a patient may need a deep cleaning include gum which bleed, receding gums, and teeth which are loose. A deep cleaning is relatively common, however, there are some risks associated with the procedure.


Below is a summary of the deep cleaning procedure, including some of the advantages and disadvantages.

Deep Cleaning

A deep cleaning of the teeth is performed to remove plaque and tartar a buildup on the teeth. It helps to reduce gum inflammation, discomfort, and improve the overall health of the gums.


Plaque is a sticky film that can collect on the teeth. It contains bacteria and forms when food debris mixes with saliva. In most cases, plaque which collects on the teeth can be removed through daily brushing. Unfortunately, brushing alone cannot remove all the plaque between the teeth. Plaque which remains on the teeth can calcify or harden and turn into tartar. Tarter is very difficult to remove at home and typically requires a professional cleaning.


Over time, the accumulation of plaque or tartar can result in gum disease. The early stage of gum disease is gingivitis and often results in red, inflamed gums. Gingivitis which remains untreated can progress into periodontitis, more serious form of gum disease which can destroy the bone which supports the teeth. This can result in the loss of teeth.


A deep cleaning is different from a routine cleaning at the dentist. A regular routine cleaning will remove plaque and tartar located above the gumline, while a deep cleaning removes plaque and tartar below the gumline. When a patient has gum disease, it can cause a gap between the teeth and gums. This gap allows for tartar and plaque to become trapped, which is removed with a deep cleaning.



Deep Cleaning Advantages

Patients may require a deep cleaning if they have gum disease which has caused the gums to pull away from the teeth and created a space of 5 millimeters or more. When gum disease remains untreated, the damage can progress, resulting in larger pockets. Severe gum disease can weaken the supporting bones and cause loose teeth or even cause the teeth to fall out completely. Some of the main advantages of a deep cleaning include the following:

  1. Prevent the progression of gum disease
  2. Treat infection and promote healing of the gums
  3. Thorough cleaning of the teeth above and below the gumline
  4. Eliminate bad breath due to gum disease
  5. Protect the tooth’s roots
  6. Prevent bone loss


A deep cleaning is an effective method used to treat gum disease, however, there are some risks associated with the procedure. Disadvantages of deep cleaning includes the following:

  1. Nerve damage is rare but possible
  2. Cleaning does not guarantee that the gums will reattach to the teeth
  3. Receding gums
  4. Infection, especially for patients with a compromised immune system
  5. Sensitivity and pain


The most common side effect associated with a deep cleaning is pain and sensitivity. The pain associated with a deep cleaning is typically minimal and lasts for a week or less. In more severe cases, the pain may last for a few weeks. The dentist will typically use a topical or local anesthetic to numb the gums and minimize any discomfort. Following the treatment, patients should expect some sensitivity. It is common for the gums to swell and patients may also experience some minor bleeding.

How Long Does Deep Teeth Cleaning Take