What Is the Difference Between a Deep Cleaning and a Routine Cleaning?

Many of us have had a routine dental cleaning - or at least you should be every 6 months. However, many people may have never even heard of a deep cleaning. In this article from Bayview Dental, we’re going over what’s involved in both treatments, how they differ, and which one is right for you depending on your symptoms. 

What Is a Routine Dental Cleaning?

A routine cleaning is a preventative dental cleaning performed every 6 months at the dentist as recommended by the ADA. During a routine cleaning, we use a scaler to scrape away plaque and tartar that’s formed at and above the gum line. 

We’ll then use a high-powered electric toothbrush and gritty toothpaste to polish your teeth. We’ll then floss between your teeth to remove food particles and end the cleaning with the application of fluoride varnish.

What Is a Deep Cleaning?

A deep cleaning involves scaling and root planing to clean below the gum line. This treatment is needed when a patient has left plaque and tartar untreated and has led to gum disease. Inadequate brushing and flossing will lead to the formation of gum pockets that trap food particles and bacteria. 

We can determine if you have gum disease by measuring the depth of these pockets with a probe. Gum pockets that exceed 3 mm suggest gingivitis while gum pockets greater than 4 mm indicate periodontitis. 

We will scale away plaque and tartar from the surface of the teeth and perform root planing which is removing plaque and tartar from the roots. The roots will also be smoothed out to make the gums easier to reattach.

A deep cleaning is effective at treating gum disease, as it can completely cure gingivitis and reverse the progression of periodontitis.

What Are the Main Difference and Which Is Right for Me?

While scaling is involved in both types of cleanings to remove the buildup of plaque and tartar, a routine cleaning involves removing plaque and tartar from above the gum line, while a deep cleaning goes deeper, below the gum line to remove plaque and tartar from the roots. 

A routine cleaning can be performed in a single 30-60 minute appointment. However, a deep cleaning can take multiple appointments to complete. We will also need you to come in for follow-up appointments after a deep cleaning, to ensure that the gums are healing and the infection is gone. 

A routine cleaning is non-invasive and requires no anesthesia, while a deep cleaning will require the administration of a local anesthetic to relieve discomfort and pain. Most importantly, routine cleanings are meant to prevent oral health problems while deep cleanings are used to treat oral health problems like gum disease that are already present. 

We also wouldn’t be able to perform a regular cleaning on a patient that has gum disease. This is because it could disturb colonies of bacteria and release them into your bloodstream.

Expert Periodontal Care at Bayview Dental

The early warning signs of gum disease include red, swollen, and bleeding gums as well as foul breath and a bad taste in the mouth. If you have any of these symptoms, you should come in for a periodontal screening to check for gum disease. Contact us at Bayview Dental today to schedule an appointment.

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