Deep Cleaning
& Scaling

Dental deep cleaning is the more common name for periodontal scaling and root planing, a dental procedure that helps treat the early stages of periodontitis, or periodontal (gum) disease. By removing bacterial deposits from underneath diseased gum tissue, dental deep cleaning helps to actually treat gum disease, unlike routine cleanings which are only intended to prevent it. If left untreated, gum disease can eventually lead to more serious oral health problems like swelling and infection in other parts of the mouth or face, shifting or loose teeth, and bone or tissue loss. Early treatment of periodontal disease is critical to preserving your teeth. 

A young girl learns about electric tooth brushes at dental depot

As a non-surgical alternative to gum surgery for the treatment of periodontitis, especially in the early stages, dental deep cleaning reduces gum pocket depth without removing the gum tissue or damaging the gums or teeth. It can often be performed in your local dentist’s office during a single visit, with most patients seeing results almost immediately. Dental deep cleaning requires a local anesthetic and results in little to no discomfort or pain after the procedure. 

Deep cleaning is a two-phased procedure usually performed in a dentist’s office and usually takes between one and two hours, depending upon how much of the mouth the dentist is cleaning. Before the actual cleaning, the dentist or hygienist will apply a topical anesthesia gel to your gums around the procedure site, then inject your gums with a local anesthetic agent, ensuring you do not feel much discomfort or pain. 

During the first phase of the procedure, called scaling, the dentist will use a scaler (a small scraping tool) to remove any accumulated tartar. Once everything has been removed, the dentist will begin planing, or smoothing, the roots and reattaching the teeth to the gums. 

A standard deep cleaning takes about an hour per quadrant. However, if your periodontal pockets are deeper than 7 mm, your dentist may recommend working on only a portion of your mouth during a single visit and saving the rest for a second. This helps limit the amount of time your mouth is numb as well as the amount of time needed for the appointment.

Your mouth is divided into four quadrants—upper left, upper right, lower left, and lower right. A standard initial deep cleaning is usually priced per quadrant. In addition, depending on the severity of your periodontitis, your dentist may also suggest that you come in for regular periodontal maintenance cleanings every four months, which will have an additional cost. 

With proper proof of a gum disease diagnosis from your dentist, most dental insurances will cover the cost of a dental deep cleaning. If yours does not, Dental Depot Arizona provides a variety of ways to help you afford the necessary care you deserve with financing, savings, credit, and payment plans.

In general, dental deep cleanings do not produce significant pain, and typically not more than the gum sensitivity which already accompanies periodontal disease, causing pain and discomfort when the gums and teeth are touched. Your provider will apply a topical numbing gel and local anesthetic before the procedure to make sure you don’t feel anything during the cleaning, but you may feel tooth sensitivity, gum tenderness, or mild discomfort after the procedure. These symptoms typically subside within a few days and can be managed with over-the-counter pain medication.

After a dental deep cleaning, your dentist may prescribe you an antimicrobial mouthwash with chlorhexidine gluconate to prevent infection and help control the bacteria in your mouth. Your dentist may also schedule you for more frequent follow-up cleaning visits every three to four months instead of the usual six months. Over-the-counter pain medication can help if you are experiencing any mild pain or discomfort. 

Because it removes virtually all of the accumulated bacteria in your mouth, a dental deep cleaning is essentially a “fresh start” for your mouth. This makes it a good opportunity to improve upon your oral hygiene habits and establish new healthy ones if you haven’t already, including twice-daily brushing with an electric toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, daily flossing, and using a mouth rinse after brushing and flossing. 

At Dental Depot Arizona, we are committed to providing the comprehensive, personalized dental care you need for a lifetime of healthy teeth. What’s more, we make getting that care easy, convenient and affordable with flexible scheduling, multiple locations, and complete on-site teams of dental professionals and specialists. Dental Depot Arizona delivers the dental care experience you and your family deserve at every stage of life. To find out if you may benefit from a deep cleaning at Dental Depot Arizona, schedule an appointment today.

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