What’s a Cleaning and Deep Cleaning?

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dental cleaning versus deep dental cleaning

Sierra Oaks Dental Sacramento California | Sacramento Dentist | Sedation Dentistry

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Phone | (916) 481-2000


The Difference Between a Cleaning and Deep Cleaning

Having your teeth regularly cleaned is as necessary as brushing your teeth and flossing every day.  You really can’t have one without the other and expect to have a healthy smile. During a routine dental cleaning a dental hygienist will clean the pockets of your teeth between the roots of the teeth and gums.  Plaque and tartar build up in these pockets overtime naturally. Brushing and flossing help combat the build up, but neither are as thorough and intensive as a clinical hygiene visit.

Prophylaxis – Clinical Hygiene Visit – A “Cleaning”

A prophylaxis also known as a standard cleaning is properly referred to as a clinical hygiene visit.  These, prophy’s for short, are your average preventative care visits. To start, the hygienist will use a cavitron ultrasonic scaling tool to break up the tartar on the surface of your teeth.  Then they will use the scaling tool to scale, or remove, plaque and tartar from gaps in between your teeth. Once the teeth have been cleaned and the plaque and tartar have been removed the hygienist will polish your teeth.  This will give your teeth that smooth, clean feeling and a new shine. Typically after the polish the hygienist will provide a fluoride treatment to your teeth to help prevent tooth decay and strengthen the enamel.

Scaling And Root Planing – A “Deep Cleaning”

A “deep cleaning” is truly a scaling and root planing treatment.  The treatment got this nickname because during the appointment the hygienist goes into every pocket along the teeth and scale and root plane between the gums and teeth.  This is one of the main differences between a standard clinical hygiene visit and a scaling and root planing treatment. Scaling of the tooth surfaces alone is not adequate for patients needing scaling and root planing.  They require the cleaning of the roots’ surfaces and the pockets between their teeth and gums.

Scaling and root planing are recommended for patients with large buildup of plaque and tartar along their gums.  When there is a buildup of plaque or tartar the gums begin to recede, which is known as periodontal disease. Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums, and when it goes untreated it becomes periodontitis.  Periodontitis occurs when the inflammation starts to affect the supporting tissue in the gums and supporting bone. If periodontitis goes unchecked then tooth loss and bone loss occurs.

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Our Difference

Our team takes great pride in making you as comfortable as possible for this procedure and every procedure here at the office.  Whether you’d like a blanket, pillow, an iPad and headphones, or even a form of sedation or nitrous, we’ll take great care of you.  Just ask any of our team members for a comfort menu during your visit.