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Deep Cleaning Versus Regular Cleaning

What is the difference between deep cleaning and regular cleaning?

As their names suggest, deep cleaning and regular cleaning differ in terms of the degree of cleaning and the processes involved in each type.

What is Deep Cleaning?

A deep cleaning (or “scaling and root planing”) is needed when there is a large amount of tartar and bacteria under the gums.

This occurs when there is a deeper space between the teeth and gums, called a “pocket.”

Pockets can develop when a person has not had their teeth professionally cleaned for a long period of time or when the person does not brush and floss on a regular basis. In addition, other health issues can also put a person at risk for developing pockets.

Pockets that measure at a certain depth are called periodontal or gum disease. Regardless of the cause, the first step to improve this condition is to have a deep cleaning of the teeth to clear the pockets of the bacteria and tartar build-up.

Related: What is Involved in a Dental Cleaning?

What is Regular Cleaning?

A regular cleaning is designed for the maintenance of healthy gums. Healthy gums have a small, shallow space between the teeth and gums.

The procedure involves going into space and cleaning it thoroughly by removing bacteria and tartar build-up. When a person brushes and flosses daily and gets their teeth cleaned on a regular basis, the bacteria and tartar build-up are minimal. Healthy gums are pink in color, and there is generally little to no bleeding during the cleaning.

Your dentist will determine what type of cleaning you will need during your initial exam by measuring the depth of the space between your teeth and gums. When you hear the dentist calling out numbers during gum measurements, you want to hear the lowest numbers.

If the numbers are under four, you will need a regular cleaning. If the numbers are 4 and above, then you may require a deep cleaning.

When to do a deep cleaning?

We at Hawaii Family Dental often recommend deep cleaning for patients who have not visited their dentists for quite some time, leading to plaque and tartar buildup and gum disease.

When to do a regular cleaning?

We suggest to our patient to undergo teeth cleaning as part of their regular dental appointments. This is to ensure that plaque and tartar buildup will not occur and their oral health condition will remain at its best until their next appointment.


Disclaimer: The oral health information published on this web page is solely intended for educational purposes. Hawaii Family Dental strongly recommends to always consult licensed dentists or other qualified health care professionals for any questions concerning your oral health.

References: 

  • https://tonic.vice.com/en_us/article/wjgnxb/is-a-dental-deep-cleaning-ever-really-necessary
  • https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/basics/dental-visits/deep-cleaning-your-teeth-when-to-do-it-0314

3 thoughts on “Deep Cleaning Versus Regular Cleaning

  1. Charlene Podger - June 23, 2016

    What did they do prior to 2012? I believe this “deep cleaning ” is a relatively new procedure.

  2. deseree spear - July 25, 2016

    they cleaned our teeth without an extra fee charlene.

  3. Kerstin Bandner - August 25, 2017

    I would have to agree. I got a d÷p cleaning yesterday and it appeared to be exactly the same as it ever was.

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