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What Is a Deep Cleaning and Is It Necessary?

Going to the dentist can be scary enough when you haven’t been in quite some time. You may have found yourself in need of your usual cleaning and checkup only to find that you’re in need of Scaling and Root Planing or a “Deep Cleaning.” But, what’s the difference? And with quite a difference in cost, is it really necessary?


What is a deep cleaning?

The term “deep cleaning” can actually be a little misleading. Scaling and root planing, otherwise referred to as SRPs by dentists, is more than a cleaning. When patients come in to see their dentist, they typically start by doing an examination of the teeth and measurements are taken of the gum pockets. In many cases, your doctor or hygienist will also record any bleeding taking place.

This can be a little uncomfortable, but these measurements are what help determine the health of your gums and teeth. You may have heard of gingivitis from toothpaste commercials and how it’s important for us to prevent it. According to Web MD, gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease that causes inflammation. If not treated, the symptoms can worsen and develop into periodontal (gum) disease.


How is gum disease treated?

Every dental office is different in how they treat periodontal disease. Once you’re diagnosed, your doctor will recommend SRPs and a continuing care plan. This procedure, which can be done by a doctor or hygienist, can be done in one or multiple visits depending on the severity of your case.

For your comfort, a local anesthetic will be applied prior to starting. From there, your dental hygienist will thoroughly clean around the roots of the teeth. The goal is to remove plaque and harmful bacteria around your gumline. After your teeth and gums have been cleaned, a medicated rinse may be applied to irrigate your gums.


What is a Perio Maintenance?

Once you’ve had a deep cleaning, your doctor will recommend you to come back every 3-4 months for a perio maintenance. This is a follow up procedure where your dental hygienist will clean your teeth and gum tissue to ensure you’re on track for a healthier smile. During this time, new measurements of your gums may be taken to help you see how your gum tissue is healing. 

It is extremely important to be seen for your ongoing maintenance once you’ve had SRPs. This will help reduce the size of your pockets, reduce bleeding, and prevent tooth loss. If left untreated, you may need to have another deep cleaning or surgery to treat your periodontal disease.


If you’ve been diagnosed with gum disease, a deep cleaning or scaling and root planing is the best option to treat it. Of course, the best course of action is prevention. Be sure to brush and floss daily and see your dentist for your regular checkups. It can make a huge difference in your oral health which is always something to smile about.


The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.