An In-Depth Look at Deep Cleanings

October 4, 2015

Ideally, the only type of teeth cleaning you’ll ever need is the kind you receive at your regular, six-month checkups. However, if you don’t take care of your teeth or if you skip visiting the dentist for a few years, you may find yourself in need of a treatment called deep cleaning. Deep cleanings are one of the most common treatments for gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) and can help you enjoy a healthier mouth even if you’ve let things go for a while.

What Makes it a “Deep” Cleaning?

Whereas a regular cleaning removes plaque and tartar from the visible portion of the tooth (the part that is visible above the gum line), a deep cleaning goes beneath the gums to remove built up tartar and plaque on the surface of the tooth’s roots. Deep cleanings usually consist of two steps:

  • Scaling, which removes existing tartar and plaque from the tooth roots to remove the source of gum disease infection
  • Planing, which creates a smoother surface on the tooth roots to prevent the accumulation of plaque and tartar in the future

In some cases, your dentist may wish to follow up a deep cleaning with a topical antibiotic to ensure that the gum infection has been completely eradicated. After a deep cleaning, you’re likely to experience some sensitivity in the area. Over-the-counter pain medication (like Tylenol) will help manage this discomfort until it goes away.

Maintaining Good Gum Health After a Deep Cleaning

We’ll get this out of the way first: deep cleanings are not the most pleasant experience in the world, so you’ll want to make sure you follow a consistent dental hygiene plan to make sure you never have to have another one performed. Luckily, maintaining healthy gums after a deep cleaning is relatively simple. Brush 2-3 times every day for at least two minutes. Floss daily, either with traditional waxed floss, handheld flossers, or a water/air flosser. Many people augment their dental hygiene routine with an over-the-counter multipurpose mouthwash that’s specifically formulated to prevent gum disease.


At at 248-693-6213. We proudly welcome patients and families from around Lake Orion, MI, as well as Auburn Hills, Rochester Hills, Clarkston, Oxford, all surrounding communities.

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