What is a Dental Deep Cleaning Called?

Deep dental cleaning (also known as root scraping & smoothing) involves special techniques to remove plaque & tartar below the gum line & prevent gum disease from progressing & causing tooth loss. Learn more about this procedure here.

What is a Dental Deep Cleaning Called?

Deep dental cleaning, also known as root scraping and smoothing, is a special technique used to remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria found below the gum line and on the roots of the teeth. This helps to prevent gum disease from progressing and causing tooth loss. It is used to treat gingivitis and periodontitis, and may require multiple appointments and local anesthesia depending on the severity. Scraping is the process of removing plaque and tartar from the surface of the tooth and from the gum pockets below the gum line that form as a result of gum disease.

Root smoothing is the process of smoothing the roots of the teeth, helping the gums to reattach to the teeth and remove gum pockets. Regular cleaning, which dental professionals call prophylaxis, is what most people think about when they go to the dentist for a checkup. Prophylaxis consists of removing plaque, which is a sticky substance that builds up on your teeth as a byproduct of bacteria that feed on the food you eat. Calculus, also known as tartar, occurs when plaque containing 26% of minerals in the mouth hardens.

Prophylactic cleanings remove plaque and tartar from the front, back, and side of the teeth with a dental scraper or water jet. Deep teeth cleaning is a relatively low-risk procedure, especially when performed by an experienced dentist or dental hygienist. A dental hygienist or dentist uses a specialized cleaning device, called an ultrasonic scraper, to remove plaque (26% estimate). Root smoothing is the second part of the deep dental cleaning process and involves smoothing and cleaning the roots of the teeth.

Routine dental cleanings twice a year are recommended to keep your gums and teeth in good condition. If you've been delaying dental care out of fear or embarrassment, Dental TLC has a solution for you. However, a deep tooth cleaning is actually a procedure performed by a dentist or dental hygienist, not something you do yourself. After excess plaque and tartar have been removed, prophylactic cleaning is performed to further clean the teeth.

For those who visit the dentist regularly and practice good oral hygiene, cleaning with prophylaxis is likely to be the recommended dental cleaning procedure. Dental exams will allow your general dentist to assess the health of your teeth and gums, while professional dental deep cleanings will remove excess plaque and tartar. If plaque is not removed with a brush, it hardens and turns into tartar, which can only be eradicated with professional dental cleaning. Root scraping and smoothing is a slightly more invasive (although not surgical) dental cleaning procedure that involves deep cleaning of the gums, the gumline, and other structures that support the teeth.