What Are Periodontal Deep Cleanings: Do I Need One?

Maintaining good oral health goes beyond regular brushing and flossing. Periodontal deep cleanings, also known as scaling and root planing, are essential procedures that address gum diseases and promote a healthier smile. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the significance of periodontal deep cleanings, what they entail, and how to determine if you might need one.

Understanding Periodontal Health

The Basics 

Healthy gums are the foundation of a strong smile. Understanding the basics of periodontal health is crucial for preventing and addressing potential issues.

What Are Periodontal Deep Cleanings?

Periodontal deep cleanings involve two key components: scaling and root planing


A dental procedure that involves the removal of dental plaque, tartar (calculus), and other debris from the surfaces of the teeth, particularly along and below the gum line. A dentist or dental hygienist often performs it as part of regular dental cleaning or as a therapeutic procedure to treat gum disease. Scaling is commonly paired with another procedure called root planing, and together they form what is known as a periodontal or deep cleaning.

Root Planing

This involves smoothing out the surfaces of the roots of the teeth. The dentist or hygienist uses specialized instruments to remove any remaining plaque and calculus and to eliminate rough spots on the roots. Smoothing the root surfaces helps to prevent bacteria from reattaching to them and promotes the healing of the gum tissue.

When Are Periodontal Deep Cleanings Necessary?

Explore the signs and symptoms that may indicate the need for a periodontal deep cleaning. Recognizing these early can help in proactive dental care. Periodontal deep cleaning may be recommended by your dentist if signs of gum disease are present. Here are some signs and symptoms that indicate a potential need for a periodontal deep cleaning:

  1. Bleeding Gums: If your gums bleed during or after brushing and flossing, it could be a sign of gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Periodontal deep cleaning can help address this issue.
  2. Swollen or Tender Gums: Inflammation, redness, or tenderness of the gums may suggest the presence of gum disease. Deep cleaning helps reduce inflammation and promotes gum health.
  3. Persistent Bad Breath: Chronic bad breath that persists despite regular oral hygiene practices could be a result of bacteria associated with gum disease. Deep cleaning can help remove the source of the odor.
  4. Pain or Discomfort: Pain or discomfort in the gums, especially when chewing or brushing, may indicate gum disease. Deep cleaning can alleviate these symptoms by addressing the underlying issue.
  5. Pockets Between Teeth and Gums: Your dentist measures the depth of the “pockets,” or gaps, between your teeth and gums during a periodontal examination. Deeper pockets may indicate gum disease and the need for a deep cleaning.
  6. Visible Tartar Buildup: If you notice a yellowish or brownish buildup on your teeth, especially near the gumline, it may be tartar. Professional deep cleaning is required to remove tartar effectively.

The Importance of Periodontal Deep Cleanings

1. Preventing Gum Diseases

Periodontal deep cleanings are instrumental in preventing and managing gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis. These conditions can lead to gum inflammation, infections, and even tooth loss if left untreated.

2. Reducing Gum Inflammation

Deep cleanings target the removal of plaque and tartar, which are major contributors to gum inflammation. By eliminating these irritants, deep cleanings help reduce inflammation and promote healthier gums.

3. Preventing Tooth Loss

Gum diseases, if untreated, can lead to the loss of teeth. Periodontal deep cleanings are an essential component of preventing tooth loss by addressing the root causes of gum disease and promoting a stable oral environment.

4. Improving Breath Odor

Persistent bad breath, or halitosis, is often associated with gum disease. Periodontal deep cleanings eliminate the source of bacterial odor, leading to fresher breath and improved overall oral hygiene.

5. Enhancing Overall Oral Health

A healthy mouth contributes to overall well-being. Periodontal deep cleanings are part of comprehensive oral care, ensuring that teeth and supporting structures remain in good condition.

What to Expect During a Periodontal Deep Cleaning

1. Preparation

Before the procedure, your dental professional will review your medical history and perform a thorough examination of your oral health, including assessing the extent of gum disease.

2. Anesthesia or Numbing

Depending on the depth of cleaning needed and your comfort level, your dentist may administer local anesthesia to numb the areas being treated. This helps ensure a pain-free experience during the procedure.

3. Scaling

The dental hygienist or dentist will use specialized instruments, such as ultrasonic scalers or hand scalers, to remove plaque and tartar from the surfaces of your teeth, both above and below the gum line. Ultrasonic scalers use vibrations to break down and remove deposits, while hand scalers involve manual scraping.

4. Root Planing

After scaling, the next step is root planing. This involves smoothing out the surfaces of the tooth roots. The goal is to eliminate rough spots and irregularities where bacteria can accumulate, promoting the reattachment of the gums to the teeth.

5. Cleaning Between Teeth and Below the Gumline

The hygienist or dentist will clean between your teeth and below the gumline to ensure that all plaque and tartar are thoroughly removed. This is a critical step in addressing gum disease.

6. Post-Treatment Instructions

Your dental professional will provide detailed post-treatment instructions, including recommendations for oral hygiene practices and any prescribed medications. It’s essential to follow these instructions for optimal healing.

7. Follow-Up Appointments

Depending on the severity of your gum disease, your dentist may schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your progress and determine if additional treatment is needed.

Schedule Your Appointment Today!

Periodontal deep cleanings play a pivotal role in maintaining optimal oral health. Whether you’re proactively preventing gum diseases or addressing existing issues, understanding the significance of these procedures is crucial. If you suspect you may benefit from a periodontal deep cleaning, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with Mi Smile Family Dental. Our dedicated Houston dentist, Dr. Maddipati, and her team are here to guide you toward a healthier, happier smile.