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Routine Cleaning Vs. Deep Cleaning Dental Appointments

Root Planing

Many patients have put off going to the dentist for routine cleanings and exams during COVID. If it’s been a while since you’ve been seen by a dentist, there’s a good possibility that your teeth are going to need a deep cleaning. While many believe regular teeth cleanings and deep cleanings are the same, there are a few significant differences between the two treatments.


What Is Deep Scaling?

A deep dental cleaning is necessary when there is a significant amount of bacteria and tartar buildup on the surfaces of your teeth. Once pockets form from gum disease, the bacteria and tartar begin to fill these pockets. If not removed, periodontal disease and eventually tooth loss can take place.

Deep cleaning treatments are also known as scaling and root planning. The process of removing plaque and tartar from the surfaces of the teeth and gum pockets is known as scaling. Root planning involves removing plaque and tartar from the surface of the roots. Unlike regular dental cleanings, it can take more than one appointment for the cleaning to be performed due to the extensiveness of the cleaning.

In some cases, a follow-up visit may also be necessary to monitor the health of the teeth and gums, primarily if pockets have formed. For those who have periodontal disease, a deep cleaning can help reverse the progression of the disease, and many patients see results within three months.

Why a Patient Would Need It

During a routine dental cleaning appointment, hygienists clean the teeth up to the gum line. Deep scaling is only done when gum disease is present. Typically in the early stages of gum disease, damage can be reversed with a professional deep cleaning. The goal of deep scaling and root planning is to treat periodontitis, or gum disease, causing the disease to go into remission. Many studies show deep scaling to be an extremely effective non-surgical procedure for treating gum disease.

What To Expect During Treatment

During deep scaling treatments, a dentist or hygienist removes plaque and tartar on teeth below the gum line from the pocket area between the teeth and gums. This pocket forms as a result of inflammation. The gum tissue is gently pushed back. The dental professional then performs a procedure called root planing. The exposed surfaces of roots are smoothed to remove inflammatory agents like calculus, microorganisms, and toxins to promote the reattachment of the gums.

The Importance of Routine Dental Cleanings

When you visit your dentist for routine cleanings, your teeth and gums are also being checked for signs of disease. Gum disease is a major health issue for millions of Americans. A regular cleaning is performed when you visit your dentist twice a year. It’s intended to maintain the general cleanliness of your teeth. The main goal of regular dental cleanings is to eliminate plaque and calculus that builds up around and slightly under the gum line.

Remember: Regular Brushing Won’t Remove Plaque and Tartar Buildup

Regardless of how great your at-home oral hygiene routine is, your teeth will still accumulate plaque and tartar over time. This is precisely why regular cleanings every six months are so important.

Dr. John M. Garcia D.D.S. Dr. Garcia graduated from Georgetown University Dental School in Washington, DC in 1988. While there, he earned honors from the Department of Fixed Prosthodontics. He then studied at the highly acclaimed Dawson Center for Advanced Dental Studies. While there, he learned more highly detailed techniques for the whole masticatory system. Dr. Garcia also trained in the Dawson Philosophy of Occlusion and the Concept of Complete Dentistry, both of which he now follows. Dr. Garcia has been in private practice as a dentist since 1990, and he strives to keep up with the latest advances in the dental field so he can offer the most effective and advanced care to his patients. Dr. Garcia specializes in helping patients improve their smile through skilled dental care and the latest technological advances in the world of dentistry.

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