When Do I Need Deep Cleaning on My Teeth?

Most people are familiar with having a regular dental cleaning procedure. This procedure typically involves booking an appointment with a dental professional, who does an oral exam and proceeds to clean your teeth with gritty toothpaste, thus allowing the removal of plaque and tartar from the surfaces of your teeth. 

However, deep dental cleaning is slightly different and is essential for specific individuals, primarily those with gum disease. Gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis may impact overall health, as stated in our article here.

Some might imagine that deep cleaning teeth consists of some flossing and rigorous brushing of your teeth at home, however, this is not the case!

Deep dental cleaning is a procedure carried out by your professional dentist or dental hygienist. It is sometimes called ‘root planing,’ ‘gum scaling,’ or ‘gum therapy.’ 

The procedure involves these steps:

  • A local anaesthetic or numbing gel is applied before the procedure to ease any pain. 
  • The dental hygienist/dentist evaluates your gums and teeth and takes x-rays to assess any bone loss or signs of damage and inflammation.
  • Standard dental scaling tools remove any plaque and tartar below the gumline. This stage of the procedure is known as gum scaling.
  • The next step is root planing, which involves removing plaque and tartar from the root surfaces of your teeth and smoothing out rough areas of teeth. 
  • At this stage, occasionally, an antimicrobial agent is used on the roots of the teeth, or you may be prescribed antibiotics after your treatment.

For some people, going to the dentist or having a dental procedure may cause some anxiety or hesitance, and these feelings may have increased during the pandemic. If you think this may be you, visit our other article, How to Deal with Dental Anxiety During Pandemic.

A deep dental cleaning procedure typically involves more than one appointment. The first appointment typically involves a scaling procedure. And another arrangement is made for root planing. 

Differences Between Deep Dental Cleaning and Regular Teeth Cleaning

  • Regular dental teeth cleaning involves gum scaling and polishing the upper surfaces of the teeth. 
  • Deep dental cleaning involves cleaning plaque and tartar further down to the roots of the teeth, down any deep pockets between the gums and the origins of the teeth.
  • Regular teeth cleaning does not require any local anaesthetic or numbing gel.
  • Deep dental cleaning requires more than one appointment in most instances. 

When Do I Need Deep Dental Cleaning?

Have a think and see if you can relate to this scenario:

You look at your teeth in the mirror, noticing your teeth look slightly longer. Or you start to see more bleeding gums with brushing or flossing. Maybe you notice some tenderness and inflammation of your gums, so you decide to get a dental check-up. Your dentist then diagnoses you with gum diseases such as gingivitis or periodontitis. If this is the case, then deep dental cleaning may be essential. 

Healthy gums typically have a pocket of 3 mm between the teeth. When these pockets widen more than 5 mm, this allows for the build-up of plaque and tartar and can subsequently lead to gum disease. 

Deep dental cleaning may be helpful for anyone with early or advanced gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis, and these individuals may benefit greatly from having this procedure. 

Advantages of Deep Dental Cleaning 

There can be a disease progression in people with gum disease, leading to advanced disease and tooth loss. Additionally, you could undergo painful surgical procedures if your condition is left untreated.

Deep dental cleaning is a go-to treatment for gum disease and can prevent more severe disease cases, particularly in people with early periodontitis and gingivitis. 

Here are some advantages of deep cleaning your teeth:

  • Prevention of advanced gum disease.
  • Reversal of gum disease.
  • Treat a current infection and promote gum healing in the deeper regions of your gums and teeth.
  • Reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Help the gums reattach to the teeth and minimise pockets between the gums and the teeth.
  • Reduce or eliminate bad breath associated with gum disease.
  • Protect the roots of your teeth.

Overall, deep dental cleaning has several benefits and can be the first stage of treatment for people with dental issues.

Disadvantages of Deep Cleaning Teeth

Deep cleaning your teeth may not suit everyone, and some people with advanced stages of periodontitis may require surgical intervention. Deep cleaning of your teeth is also typically unable to reverse advanced stages of gum disease, so it is essential to catch any early cases. If you have any severe health problems, it is necessary to check with your dentist if this procedure is suitable for you. 

Some disadvantages of the procedure include:

  • Some sensitivity, pain, or inflammation right after the procedure
  • In sporadic instances, nerve damage can occur
  • If you have a compromised immune system, an infection can occur
  • Deep cleaning teeth does not fully guarantee gum reattachment to your teeth


Deep dental cleaning is a procedure that involves gum scaling and root planing and is very useful for people with gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis. If you think that a deep dental cleaning procedure may benefit you or are unsure if you could benefit from one of these procedures, do not hesitate to book a call or an appointment with us here.

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