Deep Cleaning Process Explained Step by Step

Deep dental cleaning, also known as scaling and root planing, can benefit those with gum disease or periodontal issues. It’s a process that involves removing plaque and tartar from all parts of the teeth to help improve overall oral health.

In this post, your Sloan Creek Dental dentist will break down exactly what you can expect when it comes to deep teeth cleaning. We’ll cover the signs and symptoms of gum disease, when it might be time to consider this treatment option, the process itself, how much it costs, whether or not it hurts, and what recovery looks like after deep cleaning.

Key Takeaways

  • Deep dental cleaning is recommended when routine cleaning is not enough to remove plaque and tartar from all parts of the teeth.
  • The process involves preparation, scaling/root planing, and final treatments, including fluoride and flossing.
  • Given the intricate process of tartar removal from the roots of teeth and gum pockets, additional time is often necessary compared to a regular dental cleaning visit.
  • Deep cleaning is beneficial for individuals with periodontal disease as it prevents disease progression, tooth loss and reduces the risk of cavities and bad breath. Doing so will help keep your teeth and gums healthy.
  • The procedure may cause slight soreness, bleeding, and swelling. However, it will generally heal within a week.
  • Separate visits may be recommended as it’s common to have a certain area (quadrant) cleaned and another quadrant cleaned at another follow-up visit.

Understanding Gum Disease Progression and the Symptoms

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, develops from plaque buildup on teeth caused by bacteria mixing with food particles, especially those high in sugar and carbohydrates, that are not fully removed. Over time, plaque, a sticky film, hardens into tartar, which can cause irritation and inflammation of the gums, commonly identified as gum disease. If not treated promptly, this inflammation can lead to the gums pulling away from the teeth, creating deep pockets that become infected. The progression of this disease can ultimately lead to tooth and bone loss. The signs of gum disease will range from gums being swollen, tender, and bleed easily to chewing pain and in severe cases, tooth loss.

Accumulated plaque and tartar can cause gingivitis, resulting in gum sensitivity, pain, discoloration, and bleeding while brushing or flossing. Bad breath (halitosis) is another symptom of gingivitis. Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease and is reversible with routine dental cleanings and additional treatment.

Periodontal disease is the second stage and causes irreversible damage to gum tissue surrounding the root of your tooth. Symptoms may include soft and spongy gums, gum recession, sore gums, and discomfort while biting. Root planing may be needed during periodontal cleanings to prevent further damage.

Advanced periodontitis is the most severe stage of gum disease and causes severe damage resulting in shifting teeth, loose teeth, pus accumulation, chewing pain, and tooth loss, often requiring extraction or surgery to preserve the remaining teeth.

When to Consider a Dental Deep Cleaning

Regular brushing and flossing won’t always keep plaque and tartar from accumulating, so if you’re noticing swollen gums or pain when chewing, it might be time to consider a dental visit to see if a dental deep cleaning is needed.

The Process of a Dental Deep Cleaning

Before your gum disease treatment, there are a few steps you can take to ensure a smooth and successful procedure:

Preparing for Deep Cleaning:
1. Follow any pre-appointment instructions: Your dentist may provide specific instructions to follow before your deep cleaning. This may include avoiding certain foods or medications or adjusting your oral hygiene routine.
2. Maintain good oral hygiene: It’s crucial to continue brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing regularly leading up to your appointment. This will help remove some of the surface plaque and tartar, making the deep cleaning process more effective.
3. Be prepared for the appointment: Deep cleaning appointments can take up to two hours, so make sure you plan accordingly. It’s advisable to have a light meal before the procedure and bring a book or some form of entertainment to keep yourself occupied during the appointment. Here are some tips to prepare for your dental deep cleaning visit.

The Deep Cleaning Process:
The deep cleaning procedure involves scaling and root planing to remove tartar from below the gum line and into the pockets between teeth. During the scaling process, an ultrasonic scaler may be used if manual scraping isn’t enough. Using an ultrasonic tool effectively removes plaque and tartar buildup from teeth, particularly in hard-to-reach areas like below the gum line and around dental restorations.

During the deep cleaning procedure, your dentist or dental hygienist will perform the following steps:
1. Scaling: This involves using special dental tools to remove plaque and tartar from the surfaces of your teeth and below the gum line. Ultrasonic devices may be used to dislodge stubborn tartar.
2. Root planing: After scaling, the next step is root planing. This process smooths the root surfaces of your teeth to remove any remaining bacteria and helps the gums reattach to the teeth.
3. Local anesthesia or sedation: To ensure your comfort during the procedure, your dentist may administer a local anesthetic to numb the area being treated.

Deep Cleaning Teeth Aftercare
After your deep cleaning, it’s important to follow these guidelines for proper post-cleaning care:
1. Maintain good oral hygiene: Brush your teeth twice a day and floss regularly to prevent plaque and tartar buildup. Your dentist may also recommend using an antimicrobial mouth rinse to help control bacteria.
2. Manage side effects: It’s common to experience some sensitivity and mild discomfort after a deep cleaning. However, these symptoms can be managed by using a desensitizing toothpaste and avoiding hot or cold foods and drinks.
3. Attend regular follow-up appointments: Regular follow-up visits are crucial for maintaining oral health. Your dentist will monitor the reduction of pockets between your teeth and gums, ensuring that your gums are healing properly.

Benefits of Deep Cleaning for Oral Health

By getting a deep dental cleaning, you can help protect your teeth and gums from the advancement of gum disease and other oral health issues. Deep teeth cleaning offers several benefits for your oral health:

  • Improved gum health: Deep cleaning helps reduce inflammation and promotes gum healing, leading to improved gum health.
  • Prevention of tooth loss: By removing tartar and bacteria below the gum line, deep cleaning can help prevent the progression of gum disease and the potential loss of teeth.
  • Reduced risk of more invasive treatments: Deep cleaning can slow or stop the progression of gum disease, reducing the need for more invasive treatments such as gum surgery or tooth extraction.

How much does it cost?

The deep cleaning process is more intensive than regular cleaning for a good reason. It helps remove bacteria-causing plaque and tartar from hard-to-reach areas, such as below the gum line. Gum scaling or periodontal scaling may be used to remove tartar buildup, which can lead to bacterial infections if it’s left untreated.

Deep cleaning can cost anywhere from $400 to $1,800, depending on the severity of the case, how many quadrants, and insurance coverage. If you do not have dental insurance, a dental savings plan can help cover some of these costs, making it easier to get this important treatment done.

Does the Procedure Hurt?

You may experience some discomfort during the deep cleaning procedure, but it’s usually bearable with the help of local anesthesia. The dentist will utilize anesthetics to numb your gums and reduce pain associated with gum scaling and root planing. You may experience teeth sensitivity in your teeth afterward, but this shouldn’t last for more than a few days.

However, persistent swelling, bleeding, or pain should be reported to the dentist right away. To manage any pain you might be experiencing, you may find relief in using over-the-counter pain medication. Additionally, consider using gentle mouth rinses or rinsing with a mild salt-water solution. These measures not only alleviate discomfort but also aid in expediting the healing process.

What to Expect After Deep Cleaning

After a deep cleaning, you can expect some soreness and swelling in your gums, as well as occasional bleeding when brushing. The discomfort should subside within 4-6 weeks and is normal after the procedure. To help speed up healing and reduce pain, it’s important to take care of your teeth by brushing gently with toothpaste for sensitive teeth and avoiding hot, crunchy, hard, acidic or sticky foods. Flossing should also be avoided for one week following deep cleaning to prevent irritation of the gums.

Properly following aftercare instructions is crucial for maintaining excellent dental health and preventing additional damage caused by gum disease. It is also advisable to schedule dental cleaning appointments every six months. However, depending on the severity of their gum disease, some patients may benefit from more frequent visits.


After your deep cleaning, we recommend avoiding the following foods, such as extremely hot or cold food, chewy foods, and acidic foods, for the next 24-48 hours. Your dentist will recommend sticking to soft foods like pasta or applesauce.

Apart from practicing good dental hygiene such as daily brushing and flossing on a regular basis, incorporating a water flosser into your oral hygiene routine allows you to effectively target areas below the gum line, reaching several millimeters deep, and effectively flushing out plaque and food particles from periodontal pockets. Avoiding tobacco products and maintaining a healthy diet can also improve your oral health.

Deep cleanings, known as scaling and root planing, are generally considered a basic dental procedure, similar to dental fillings. The coverage tier for a deep cleaning usually decreases to approximately 60-80%, contingent upon the specifics of your dental insurance plan.

Deep teeth cleaning is necessary when you have pockets of bacteria around your teeth that may lead to gum disease. These pockets are indicators that bacteria is pulling your gums away from your teeth and infection might set in. To avoid severe dental problems such as tooth loss or infection, dentists often recommend a deep cleaning.

Regular dental cleaning involves removing plaque and tartar buildup on the surface of your teeth and just below your gum line. On the other hand, deep teeth cleaning involves the dentist cleaning down to the roots of the teeth, especially when gum disease is present. A standard cleaning may not be enough in these cases.

How often you need a deep teeth cleaning depends on the state of your dental health. While some people may only require a deep clean once in several years, others with severe gum disease might need deep teeth cleanings more frequently. It’s always best to consult with your dentist about the necessary treatment and frequency.

If gum disease progresses even after a deep cleaning, your dentist may recommend further treatments like a gingivectomy or dental surgery. It’s crucial to have regular dental check-ups after a deep cleaning to monitor your gums and teeth for any signs of further disease.

Yes, deep teeth cleaning procedures can reverse early stages of gum disease by eliminating the bacteria and tartar causing the infection. However, in more advanced stages, while deep cleaning can help manage the condition, it may not be able to fully reverse it without additional treatments.

Your Fairview Dentist is Here For You

The accumulation of tartar, plaque, and gum disease can lead to a deterioration in the overall dental well-being of patients, and these issues will only worsen without a deep cleaning treatment. This type of dental treatment can significantly improve the health and functionality of your teeth and gums. If you are currently experiencing any symptoms related to gum disease, it is recommended to schedule a deep cleaning appointment with your dental professional today.

If you are looking for a reliable and well-regarded dental office in the Fairview Allen area, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us to schedule your appointment. We also offer a wide range of dental care services to help you attain a healthy and aesthetically pleasing smile.

You can reach us at our Fairview, TX dental office to schedule your dental appointment online or call us at 972-468-1440.