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Dental Cleaning – Is It Worth It?

Excerpt: You may be under the impression that if you go to the dentist just for a cleaning, you're just paying the dentist to do the same thing you...
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Regular Dental Cleanings

Regular dental cleanings happen when you go for your bi-annual dental checkup, generally, your dentist and dental hygienist will clean your teeth as part of the checkup. This will typically involve your teeth being cleaned for basic plaque and tartar buildup, some flossing, and fluoride treatment. Your dentist will also inform you on where you can improve your technique so you can clean your teeth even better.

Regular dental cleanings are worth it since any tartar buildup you have can get cleaned out by the dentist before it becomes an issue. Prevention is almost always the best way to stop dental problems.
If the dental issues have increased, you may need a deep teeth cleaning, or what is referred to as gum therapy.

You may be under the impression that if you go to the dentist just for a cleaning, you’re just paying the dentist to do the same thing you can do at home. This is far from the truth and this misunderstanding should be corrected right away.

Deep Teeth Cleaning (Gum Therapy)

Deep teeth cleaning involves a similar process to a regular dental cleaning, however, it is a “deep cleaning” since the dentist will continue down to the root of the tooth. Cleaning the root of the tooth is necessary since you might have tartar buildup below the gum line. 

Having tartar build-up below the gum line is a big problem since if the issue persists it will actually push the gums away from the tooth. There is a pocket between the teeth and the gums that is about 3mm, if you have gum disease, the size may increase.

If your pocket between your gums and teeth is 5mm or more (a measurement done by the dentist), they will generally recommend a deep clean before the issue gets worse.

The process typically ends up like this:

  • First visit – Gum scaling 
  • Second visit – Root plaining
For both of these visits, you will generally be given a local anesthetic.


  • Regular Dental Cleaning – Cleans the teeth for plaque and tartar, mainly stays above the gum line
  • Deep Teeth Cleaning – Cleaning done below the gum line all the way down to the root of the tooth. Needed if the gum “pocket” is at least 5mm instead of 3mm.
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What Is Teeth Scaling & Root Planing?

Teeth scaling is a common procedure that may be recommended by your dental hygienist, they may also recommend root planing be done at the same time. Typically, these are referred to as, “deep cleaning”.
  • Teeth scaling – This process involves removing the buildup of plaque & tartar from the teeth.
  • Root plaining – Your dental hygienist will smooth the tooth roots using a scaling tool. Its purpose is to help the gums reattach to the roots
These procedures often require more than one visit to the dental hygienist, depending on the severity of your plaque and tartar buildup. 
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Who needs regular dental cleaning?

As long as you have benefits or the budget for it, you should never skip your annual (once a year) or bi-annual cleaning (twice a year). Most dental patients tend to go every 6 months to have their teeth cleaned regularly.

If your teeth need extra attention, you might need to go 3 times a year, but this is less common.

Who needs a deep dental cleaning?

Only those with advanced dental issues need deep cleaning, if the dentist has concerns your gum line is being pushed too far away from your teeth, it should be done right away. Having separated gums 

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Are There Any Complications from deep cleaning?

This process is a very safe procedure and is very low risk. If you have fillings, they may get loosened or pop out, but the dentist will fix this if that is the case. Due to all the intense scraping, the most common ailment is slightly more sensitive teeth for a couple of weeks. You can deal with this by staying away from hot or cold foods and beverages. You can also lessen the impact with sensitive toothpaste and mouthwash.

If any after-effects continue to persist, it is advised that you inform your dentist.

Deep cleaning aftercare

After you get your deep clean, you should pay extra attention to your teeth. Like any other part of your body, they will need time to heal fully. Also, it won’t help to get a deep clean, just to have them get dirty again. 

The cost for the two types of cleaning may vary depending on a number of factors like if you want fluoride treatment. You can see our dental fees on our fees page here.

You will need both as they complement the other. If the gum disease is bad enough that deep cleaning is required, then both treatments are necessary.

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