What Is The Difference Between Dental Cleanings?

27 October 2022
 Categories: Dentist, Blog


When you visit the dentist semi-annually to get a dental cleaning, chances are that it is for a standard cleaning that is done for people with a healthy mouth. However, your dentist may recommend a deep cleaning, and you are unsure what the difference is between the two. Here is what you need to know about the differences between types of dental cleanings. 

Standard Dental Cleaning

A standard dental cleaning is what most people get since the purpose is to clean the teeth and prevent diseases from forming in your mouth by removing plaque and tartar. You'll find that your dentist typically recommends having this type of cleaning done twice per year since it is a preventative measure designed to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Part of a standard dental cleaning will involve getting x-rays. Your dentist may follow the recommendations of your dental insurance and have x-rays taken at every other cleaning, or take them during every cleaning if they are monitoring potential problems. There are also full-mouth x-rays, which are not taken nearly as frequently as standard x-rays, with many dental insurance providers only covering them after several years have gone by. 

Another thing that is done during a cleaning is periodontal charting, which is when measurements are taken of your gums to determine if you have a problem with gum recession or not. Since this information is tracked over time, it's possible to catch these signs of gum recession early on and prevent it from getting worse. There is a probe that is placed between the tooth and your gums, which allows the dentist to measure the gum pocket depth in millimeters easily. 

Deep Dental Cleaning

One form of deep cleaning is known as scaling. This is common if your gums are swollen and puffy and the dentist needs to do a more detailed job of cleaning below your gum line. This is for people that do not have bone loss since the goal is to get rid of the plaque that is causing inflammation. It should help the gums become tighter and reduce those deep pockets.

Scaling and root planing is the next level of deep cleaning, which is for patients that have signs of bone loss. It's not necessarily a better type of cleaning, but it is more detailed because more of the teeth are exposed. That space between your gums and teeth can end up being very large, which requires getting deep within the area to clean it. Your dentist may even recommend numbing your mouth and splitting the deep cleaning into two appointments.

Talk to a dentist to learn more.