Regular vs Deep Cleaning


Today, we’re breaking down exactly what a deep cleaning is, how it differs from a regular cleaning, and how you can benefit from this treatment.

Regular Cleanings

Regular dental cleanings, clinically referred to as prophylaxis cleanings, involve a thorough removal of all signs of plaque or tartar that have accumulated on or between the teeth. The dental hygienist will then polish the teeth, and in most cases, apply a topical fluoride treatment to ensure that the enamel of the tooth remains strong and healthy. The hygienist will end the appointment by advising the patient on how to best manage their oral care.

In most cases, the dentist will then see the patient for an examination of the health of the gums and teeth to ensure that there are no signs of gum recession or tooth decay. The patient will then be asked to return in 3, 4 or six months for their next cleaning and check up appointment depending on the status of their oral health.

Deep Cleanings

Deep cleanings, known clinically as scaling and root planing treatment, are a responsive treatment method designed to manage gum disease.

Gum disease which is known as Periodontal disease occurs when plaque or tartar begins to accumulate underneath the gum line. These deposits of bacteria begin to eat away at the bone structure, which causes a pocket of space to form between the tooth and the gum due to recession of both the bone and gum structure.

In order to determine the severity of the gum disease, a periodontal examination will be done in which the space pocket is measured. The mouth is clinically assessed by dividing it into four areas, known as quadrants. The quadrant(s) in the mouth which are affected by gum disease will be planned for a deep cleaning.


During a scaling and root planing treatment, the hygienist will remove all signs of plaque or tartar on the surface of the teeth. They will then remove all signs of plaque or tartar below the gumline, and an antibiotic will be placed in the clean area. This prevents the growth of bacteria and essentially aids in the prevention of the progression of the gum disease. The appointment will conclude with measurements taken of the pockets between the tooth and gum and an examination done by the dentist. The patient will then be asked to return every three months rather than every six months.

Because a regular cleaning does not include a thorough cleaning under the gumline, it will not successfully help manage gum disease. If you have been recommended for a deep cleaning, it is important to follow through with your recommended treatment in order to keep your teeth as healthy as possible.

While gum disease can not be reversed, with proper management both at-home and in the care of your trusted dental professionals, you will be able to successfully manage your oral health and prevent your condition from worsening. To get scheduled for a deep cleaning in our San Jose dental office, give us - Willow Glen Dental Center - a call today at (408) 266-6144!

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