Many patients concerned about dental care have questions about deep cleaning at dentist offices. If you’re due for a dental appointment, you may wonder:

  • What’s a deep clean at the dentist?
  • Are deep cleanings necessary?
  • Are deep cleanings bad for your teeth?
  • How painful is a deep cleaning?
  • Is deep cleaning worth it?

Keep reading for the answers to these questions and to learn a bit more about this important dental procedure.

What’s a Deep Clean at the Dentist?

A deep cleaning at the dentist goes beyond simply removing plaque and tartar buildup. When a dentist is deep cleaning teeth, they use specialized tools to descale each tooth, removing debris from underneath your gums that might get missed during regular cleanings.

Have you ever noticed the following happening?

  • Your gums bleed when you brush or floss
  • You have persistent bad breath
  • Your gums are red, swollen, or tender
  • You notice discoloring of your teeth due to coffee consumption or smoking

If you answered “yes” to any of the above, you might have some form of gum disease. Gum disease is an infection of the gums that can lead to tooth loss if left untreated.

One way to treat and prevent gum disease from advancing is through deep cleanings at a dentist’s office. With a deep cleaning, your hygienist will take extra care to thoroughly clean your teeth and gums, helping you enjoy better oral health and preventing disease progression.

What Is Deep Cleaning of Teeth Called?

You might hear dentists refer to the process of deep cleaning teeth as “scaling and root planing.” Scaling involves the removal of tartar (calculus) above and below the gum line, while root planing helps smooth out any irregularities on the tooth root that might be harboring bacteria. Basically, deep cleaning combines these two procedures to help reduce inflammation and gum disease.

When Are Deep Cleanings Necessary?

Everyone can benefit from routine cleanings to remove plaque and tartar, but scheduling an appointment for a dentist deep cleaning teeth can be especially important if you:

  • Have gingivitis (the early stage of gum disease characterized by inflammation of the gums)
  • Have periodontitis (a more advanced stage of gum disease that results in damage to the bone and the connective tissue supporting your teeth)
  • Have severe plaque buildup that regular cleaning cannot remove
  • Smoke (smoking is a major risk factor for gum disease)
  • Wear braces or other dental appliances that make it difficult to remove plaque and tartar and keep your teeth free of bacteria
  • Are pregnant (pregnancy can actually increase your risk of gum disease)

Still wondering, “Are deep cleanings necessary for me?” Talk to your dentist or dental hygienist. They can assess your needs, personal health history, and current oral health status to determine if a deep cleaning is necessary.

Are Deep Cleanings Bad for Your Teeth?

Deep cleanings can be a bit more aggressive than regular cleanings, but deep cleanings aren’t bad for your teeth. If your dentist recommends a deep cleaning, you likely already have periodontal disease. Gum disease doesn’t go away on its own. If left untreated, losing your teeth will be a result.

But if you have any concerns about deep cleaning, don’t be afraid to ask your dentist for more information. They can answer all your questions and help you decide if a deep cleaning is right for you.

Does Deep Cleaning Teeth Hurt?

If your dentist recommends a deep cleaning, you might think, “Okay, but how painful is a deep cleaning?”

Don’t worry! Your dentist and hygienists are trained professionals and know how to make you as comfortable as possible. Deep cleanings are broken up into two appointments because we use local anesthesia to numb your mouth, preventing you from feeling pain. However, you will notice some sensations during your deep cleaning, like:

  • A mildly uncomfortable scraping sensation
  • A cool, wet feeling from the rinse water
  • Pressure from the dental tools

These sensations are completely normal and shouldn’t cause you any significant discomfort. But if you do feel any pain during your deep cleaning, let your dentist and/or hygienist know so that they can make any necessary adjustments.

How Much Does a Deep Cleaning at the Dentist Cost?

The cost of a deep cleaning depends on a few factors, including the dentist’s rate, your insurance coverage, and your teeth’s overall health.

On average, deep cleanings are charged by the quadrant (four in total) and range in price from $240 to $315/quadrant.

Your insurance might cover a portion of the cost – sometimes up to half – but you’ll likely have to pay a portion out-of-pocket. So before scheduling any dental procedure, check with your insurance carrier to see what your plan covers.

If you don’t have insurance, you’ll be responsible for the entire bill. Ask your dentist about payment plans and financial assistance options.

Is Deep Cleaning Teeth Worth It?

The answer is a resounding yes! Deep cleanings are specially for those with gum disease. So if your dentist says you need a deep cleaning, schedule an appointment immediately. Deep cleanings are well worth it, considering the following benefits:

Dental Deep Cleaning Before and After Care

Before your deep cleaning procedure is scheduled, your dentist or dental hygienist will review your medical history and perform a thorough examination of your mouth. They might take X-rays to get a better look at the condition of your teeth and gums, too.

Once they’ve determined that deep cleaning your teeth is necessary, they’ll explain the procedure to you and answer any questions you may have.

If you swished around a fluoride rinse during your deep cleaning, avoid eating or drinking anything for 30-minutes afterward. You should also avoid eating hard or crunchy foods for 24 hours after the procedure. After the procedure, brush and floss your teeth, but be extra gentle around the deep cleaned areas to maintain good oral hygiene.

What Other Services May I Need?

Depending on your oral health and age, you might need to follow up your deep cleaning at the dentist with another service. Some other dental treatments include:

Cosmetic Dental Services

If you want to take your smile a step further, check out our cosmetic dentistry services. Teeth whitening falls into this category, but you may also consider:

Restorative Dental Services

If you’ve felt that something just isn’t quite right with your oral hygiene, restorative dentistry may be the answer. A trained and experienced dentist can help you restore your smile to its original look and feel with targeted restoration services, such as:

Schedule Your Deep Cleaning at the Dentist’s

Now you have a better understanding of “What’s a deep clean at the dentist?” – and you know the answers to these important questions:

  • Are deep cleanings bad for your teeth?
  • Are deep cleanings necessary?
  • Is deep cleaning teeth worth it?
  • Does deep cleaning teeth hurt?
  • How painful is a deep cleaning?

Your next step is determining if a deep cleaning at the dentist is needed for your smile. For anyone interested in maintaining their oral health, preventing gum disease, and keeping their teeth healthy and strong, we recommend asking your dentist about deep cleanings.

Contact Northside Dental Co. to schedule an appointment today. As the leading dental office in Richmond, VA, we’re proud to offer high-quality dental care, and we’re always happy to answer any of your questions.