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Deep Cleanings Versus Regular Cleanings

What is the difference between deep cleanings and regular cleanings?

As their names suggest, deep cleanings and regular cleanings differ in their degree of cleaning. Additionally, they also vary in terms of the processes involved with each type.

What are deep cleanings?

A deep cleaning (or “scaling and root planing”) is necessary 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 or a “pocket.”

Pockets can develop when a person has not had their teeth professionally cleaned for a long period of time. These can also develop 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.

Those with deeper pockets, however, have a condition known as 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 bacteria and tartar build-up.

Related: What is Involved in a Dental Cleaning?

What are regular cleanings?

A regular cleaning can help with the maintenance of healthy gums. Healthy gums feature a small, shallow space between the teeth and gums.

The procedure involves thoroughly cleaning the spaces of the gums 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. Additionally, there is generally little to no bleeding while 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 should hope to hear lower numbers.

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

When are deep cleaningsnecessaryy?

We at Hawaii Family Dental often recommend deep cleaning for patients who have not visited their dentist for quite some time. Likewise, folks who have poor oral hygiene habits and/or have current oral health problems may also benefit from a deep cleaning.

When are regular cleanings necessary?

We suggest that our patients undergo teeth cleaning as part of their regular dental appointments. This is to ensure that plaque and tartar buildup will not occur, and thus, that their oral health will remain at its best until their next appointment. That said, make it a habit to attend the dentist at least twice a year for a regular cleaning and checkup.


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 Cleanings Versus Regular Cleanings

  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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