Dental Tips Blog


What’s the Difference Between a Normal Cleaning and a Deep Cleaning?

When a patient is told that they need a “deep cleaning” they may wonder why they can’t simply have just a normal routine preventive cleaning. Then there are some patients who come in for a routine cleaning and think they’re not getting as thorough of a cleaning, so they insist on getting a “deep cleaning.” It’s understandable that many people aren’t able to recognize the difference between the two procedures and why one may be called for over the other. Here is a basic review of what the difference is between the two:

Routine Cleanings

A routine cleaning is technically referred to as a prophylaxis. Or “prophy,” as your hygienist probably refers to them.  Prophy means preventive, so this is in essence a preventive cleaning procedure. These are performed every 6 months as a way to maintain proper gum health, bone levels, and remove any tartar or plaque from the surface of the teeth, including the root surfaces below the gums. Because patients that receive routine cleanings have lower levels of tartar, only maintenance cleanings are needed in order to remove the bacteria from their mouth.

Deep Cleanings

Deep cleaning is the short term used for “scaling and root planing.” A scaling and root planing procedure (SCPR for short) is prescribed for patients with active gum disease, moderate or severe levels of bone loss, and heavy tartar accumulation on the surfaces of the roots of teeth. Most people that need SCRPs have not seen a dentist regularly or have progressively developed gum disease. All of the surfaces of the teeth are cleaned, as with a prophy, but the procedure is more involved and time consuming due to the amount of buildup and extent of bone loss.

Posted on behalf of Muccioli Dental



What is Tooth Scaling?

Tooth scaling, also known as root planing or deep dental cleaning, is a treatment for mild gum disease.  Mild to moderate cases of periodontal disease respond well to deep cleanings in affected areas.

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is the most common reason for tooth loss as an adult.  One way to prevent this tooth loss is to remove any of the bacteria and plaque that may have accumulated at the pulled away gum area.  This type of cleaning is different than regular cleanings performed by your dental hygienist.

Dental scaling or root planning removes plaque and tartar that has developed below the natural gum line.  It also removes plaque on the roots.  The tooth and root are carefully cleaned and then evenly smoothed out.  This cleaning and smoothing makes it more difficult for bacteria to later adhere.  This process keeps your natural teeth and roots healthier, and helps preserve your natural teeth and smile.  Before or after the deep cleaning, your dentist may also prescribe a round of antibiotics to help prevent infection and to help kill any remaining bacteria.

Tooth scaling and root planning are more extensive than routine dental cleanings.  If tartar has developed well below the gum line, a local anesthetic may be used.  If you have any concern about pain or anxiety about the procedure, do let your dentist know.  Depending on the extent of plaque and tartar build-up, deep cleanings may be divided up over a period of time.

It is important to keep your deep cleaning appointments, to help preserve your teeth and to reverse your gum disease.  If your gum recession cannot be treated with a deep cleaning further treatment may be necessary, including certain types of oral surgery.

The best way to prevent gum disease is to have good oral hygiene and eat a well-balanced diet each and every day.  See your dentist regularly for routine examinations and cleanings, and your teeth will last a lifetime!

Posted on the behalf of Muccioli Dental


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