Deep Cleaning vs. Regular Dental Cleaning

dental cleaning

When you visit the dentist for your regular dental appointment, you may think that you’re receiving a deep cleaning. Many patients believe that their normal dental routine at home is regular cleaning and that a deep cleaning can only be offered in the office.

However, both a regular dental cleaning and deep cleaning are performed by your dental hygienist. It is important to understand the difference in the cleanings, so you know when you need one versus the other.

Our dentist can also help to answer any questions about these two approaches, but we have also compiled some of the key information so that you don’t even have to schedule an appointment to get the basics!


What is a Regular Cleaning?

You generally receive a regular cleaning every six months when you go into the dentist’s office. The regular cleaning focuses on the tooth above the gum line. This process is designed to clear away any tartar that you haven’t recently cleaned up, and any plaque that has built up on your teeth.


The difference between tartar and plaque is that tartar can generally be cleaned with normal brushing and flossing. Plaque is tartar that has further hardened. Plaque must be cleaned with scaling tools and cannot simply be brushed away. Fortunately, your regular cleaning can take care of both.

A regular cleaning effectively polishes and disturbs the bacteria colonies that reside on your teeth. If your teeth are generally clean and you don’t have any concerns about periodontal disease, this can often be good enough. However, if your dentist identifies periodontal disease, they may refuse to even conduct regular cleanings because it could do more harm. Instead, you should opt for deep cleanings.


Understanding a Deep Cleaning

If you have untreated periodontitis, our dentist will recommend a deep cleaning. Part of the issue is that the bacteria colonies have become established in your mouth. If you don’t complete a deep cleaning, then only disturbing these bacteria could cause them to be released into your bloodstream and cause a more serious condition. Secondly, by completing a simple regular cleaning, your hygienist simply cannot remove all the bacteria, so it won’t really do much good.

A deep cleaning focuses on the entire exposed tooth, and gums. This process will make sure to clear away all the bacteria and buildup on the tooth so that your gums can reattach to the tooth and help to protect your teeth from further damage or decay.

Your hygienist will use a variety of tools in order to clean your teeth, but these are all designed to break up the buildup and make sure that it is properly cleared from the mouth. The majority of the focus in a deep cleaning and the big difference is that during a deep cleaning, a significant portion of the time focused on root scaling to allow a healthy root for the gums to reattach.

Additionally, deep cleanings take significantly longer than typical cleanings. Our dentist may schedule you for multiple appointments to make sure that they can clear all of the debris. You may opt to get one side of your mouth cleaned first so that you can easily chew on the other side.

If we suggest a dental cleaning, you may want to check with your dental insurance. However, deep cleanings are so common and beneficial for adults that most insurance plans cover this procedure.


Schedule an Appointment Today

Untreated periodontal disease can be harmful to your teeth and even your vital organs. Schedule an appointment with our dentist today to see if you need a deep cleaning at 480-405-1300.