When Is a “Deep Cleaning” Necessary?At Gentle Dental Center, we understand that when you think about having dental cleanings, you probably stick to your twice-yearly checkup visits and leave it at that. In cases of periodontal (gum) disease, however, which we focused on in last month’s blog, an additional, more thorough cleaning is often required. This type of cleaning, performed under the gum line, is known as a “deep cleaning.” So, how do these types of cleanings differ?

Regular Dental Cleanings

Regular dental cleanings focus on removing plaque, stains, tartar and calculus from the crowns of the teeth and above the gumline. The scaling is primarily targeted to the outside of the upper molars and the inside of the front lower teeth, since calculus tends to build up in these areas. During your visit, your dentist will use a periodontal probe to check for signs of gum inflammation, evidence that the gums are pulling away from the teeth and bleeding: all signs of advanced periodontal disease.

Deep Dental Cleanings

A deep cleaning, also known as root planing and scaling, involves cleaning the area between the gum line and the roots to remove calculus, bacteria, plaque, and tartar from under the gum line. This type of cleaning is usually performed when the pockets around the teeth measure at least 4 millimeters, when X-rays show evidence of bone loss or when there is long-term inflammation of the gums indicating periodontal disease. Root scaling and planing smooth out the surfaces and roots of the teeth, making it harder for bacteria and calculi (accumulated hardened tartar) to attach to the tooth and cause further damage.

What to Expect During a Deep Cleaning

A deep cleaning takes longer than a regular dental cleaning. Depending on the extent of calculus and tartar buildup, multiple sessions may be required. Since the procedure involves working beneath the gum line, your dentist will likely use an injectable anesthetic to keep you comfortable. Antibiotic gels and rinses may also be used to remove bacteria and treat any infection revealed by the deep cleaning process.

At Gentle Dental Center in Virginia Beach, we have two locations (Holland Road and Landstown) to serve you and your family. Please contact us at (757) 431-1300 to schedule your cleanings or request an appointment online. We offer a full range of family and cosmetic dentistry services, and we celebrate seeing our patients retain their pearly whites for a lifetime.