Deep Cleaning Your Teeth: All You Need to Know About Scaling and Root Planing

Deep Cleaning Your Teeth: All You Need to Know About Scaling and Root Planing

May 21, 2024 Off By Sublaid

While regular dental cleanings are essential for maintaining good oral health, they primarily focus on removing plaque and tartar from the surface of your teeth and gumline. But what happens when buildup accumulates below the gumline? This is where deep cleaning, also known as scaling and root planing, comes in.

What is Deep Cleaning?

Deep cleaning is a dental procedure specifically designed to remove plaque and tartar from below the gumline, where regular brushing and flossing can’t reach. This buildup can irritate gums, leading to gingivitis (inflammation) and potentially progressing to periodontitis (severe gum disease) if left untreated

The Deep Cleaning Process

Deep cleaning is typically a two-part procedure performed by a dentist or periodontist (gum specialist).

  • Scaling: During scaling, your dentist will use an ultrasonic scaler, a tool with a vibrating tip that breaks up and removes tartar deposits. They may also use manual scalers for finer areas. A water spray will wash away the dislodged debris.
  • Root Planing: Root planing smooths rough surfaces on the tooth roots, making it harder for plaque to adhere in the future. This promotes gum healing and reattachment to the teeth.

Who Needs Deep Cleaning?

While everyone benefits from regular dental cleanings, deep cleaning is typically recommended for individuals with:

  • Gingivitis that doesn’t improve with regular cleanings
  • Periodontitis
  • Deep gum pockets (spaces between teeth and gums)
  • Persistent bad breath

Benefits of Deep Cleaning

Deep cleaning offers several benefits for your oral health:

  • Removes harmful bacteria below the gumline
  • Reduces gum inflammation and bleeding
  • Helps prevent gum disease progression
  • Promotes gum healing and reattachment to teeth
  • Improves overall oral health

What to Expect After Deep Cleaning

Your gums may be sore and sensitive for a few days after the procedure. Your dentist will provide instructions on pain management and proper oral hygiene practices to promote healing.

Deep Cleaning vs. Regular Cleaning

The key difference between deep cleaning and regular cleaning lies in the targeted area. Regular cleanings focus on the surface of the teeth and gumline, while deep cleanings address buildup below the gumline.

Maintaining Oral Health After Deep Cleaning

Following deep cleaning, maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial to prevent future buildup and gum disease. This includes:

  • Brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes with a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Flossing daily
  • Regular dental cleanings (frequency determined by your dentist)


Deep cleaning is a valuable procedure for treating and preventing gum disease. If you experience signs of gum problems, such as bleeding or swollen gums, consult your dentist to determine if deep cleaning is right for you. By prioritizing good oral hygiene and regular dental visits, you can maintain a healthy smile for years to come.