What is the Difference Between a Deep Cleaning and a Periodontal Cleaning?

Periodontal cleaning is synonymous with deep cleaning. Learn more about what sets them apart & how they can help maintain good oral health.

What is the Difference Between a Deep Cleaning and a Periodontal Cleaning?

Essentially, periodontal cleaning and deep cleaning are one and the same. While a regular cleaning procedure removes tartar and buildup from the surface of the teeth, deep cleaning is done below the gumline. This is why it is also known as periodontal cleaning. Deep cleaning is a general term for periodontal treatment known as root scraping and smoothing (SRP).

At Premier Periodontics, our specialized team offers scraping and root smoothing treatments in seven specialized offices located in Bellevue, Mercer Island, Olympia, Kent, Redmond, Everett and Kirkland, WA. Regular teeth cleaning is necessary for hygiene and dental health reasons. Not only does it keep your teeth aesthetically attractive, but it also ensures healthy and strong teeth for overall well-being. When teeth aren't cleaned, they weaken and are more susceptible to infections and, in some cases, tooth loss.

It's important to treat cavities and keep periodontal disease at bay to prevent tooth loss. While general cleaning (prophylaxis) focuses more on the gumline to flake and polish the outer surface of the teeth, deep cleaning of the teeth involves removing bacterial colonies and tartar from the roots of the teeth. Deep cleaning is also known as root scraping and smoothing. Removing plaque and tartar from the surface of the teeth and from the gum pockets is known as desquamation, while root planning involves removing plaque and tartar from the surface of the roots.

Unlike regular cleanings, deep cleaning may require more than one appointment due to the breadth of cleaning needed. In some cases, a follow-up visit may also be necessary to monitor the health of the teeth and gums, especially if pockets have formed. It doesn't matter if you visit the dentist regularly or if it's been a few years, an evaluation by your dentist will determine whether or not you need regular cleaning or deep cleaning. One thing to expect after a deep dental cleaning is a little sore gums and sensitivity to hot liquids and foods.

Once the teeth are cleaned by scraping, the dentist will perform root smoothing to soften the roots of the teeth. However, if the number is higher than four, you'll need deep cleaning instead of regular maintenance cleaning. Cleaning is used to remove the buildup of bacteria and tartar that builds up between the teeth and gums between regular cleanings. If bacteria invade below the gum line, you'll need a thorough dental cleaning to restore gum health.

Professional dental cleanings are an essential component of preventing gum disease, but there is no single treatment to keep your teeth and gums healthy. If your gums are red and inflamed, it may indicate that you have an infection and need a thorough dental cleaning.