What’s The Difference Between a Regular Cleaning and a Deep Cleaning?

When it comes to maintaining your oral health, attending your regularly scheduled cleaning appointments is incredibly important. If you have been recommended for a “deep” cleaning, you may be wondering what it is and what it means for you. Continue reading to learn the difference between a regular cleaning and a deep cleaning.

Types of Dental Cleanings

There are two different types of dental cleanings: prophylaxis (regular), and scaling & root planing (deep). 

Regular cleanings are done for patients with healthy gums to maintain a healthy oral environment and eliminate bacteria above the gum line. 

Deep cleanings are done for patients with gum disease in order to help them avoid the progression of their condition and to eliminate bacteria both above and below the gum line.

Prophylaxis (Regular) Cleanings

To begin your prophylaxis cleaning appointment, two x-rays will be taken on either side of your mouth, focusing on your molars. These x-rays are known as bitewings, and are usually taken every six months to check the health of the teeth. In the chair, your hygienist will remove all signs of plaque and tartar from the teeth before polishing them thoroughly. 

The health of your teeth and gums will be checked and recorded by both your hygienist and your dentist; if any signs of decay or damage are found, you will be scheduled to have the issue at hand cared for. You will then be asked to return in six months for your next cleaning and check-up appointment.

Scaling & Root Planing (Deep) Cleanings

There are two stages of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the first stage, and can be reversed if intervened with professional treatment before it progresses into periodontitis. Periodontitis can not be reversed, but it can be maintained and prevented from progressing.

If you have been diagnosed with gingivitis, your hygienist will work to remove plaque and tartar from above and below the gumline before polishing your teeth. Depending on the progression of your case, antibiotics may be placed beneath the gum line to help prevent the growth of bacteria. You will then be asked to return from “regular” cleanings from then on. In most cases, gingivitis can be treated with one deep cleaning followed by closely monitored regular cleanings.

If you have been diagnosed with periodontitis, your hygienist will thoroughly remove plaque and tartar above and below the gumline. Antibiotics will then be placed beneath the gums to discourage bacteria growth, and you will be asked to return in three months for your next deep dental cleaning. You will need to continue this treatment indefinitely in order to prevent your condition from worsening.

Dental Cleanings in Fairfax and Oakton

Here at Oakton Dental Center, we are here to help you stay happy and healthy with proper oral care and treatment. We are proud to offer both regular and deep cleaning services for our patients.

We proudly service Oakton and the surrounding areas of Fairfax and Vienna. For more information about our Oakton dental office, feel free to contact us

To get scheduled for dental treatment in Fairfax, give us a call anytime at (703) 938-3405, or use our online appointment scheduler.

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