Robinson Township Smiles

Regular Cleanings Vs. Deep Cleanings: What’s The Difference?

May 5, 2021
Posted By: Ryan Rupert

Despite sounding similar, regular cleanings and “deep cleanings” at the dentist are much different. Even if you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, you won’t need a deep cleaning unless you have gum disease.


Confused? The team at Robinson Township Smiles will discuss the differences between these procedures, and explain why they're so different. 


Regular Cleanings Are “Prophylactic” And Recommended For All Patients


Regular, routine teeth cleanings are prophylactic in nature. This means they’re not done to treat any specific type of oral disease, but are intended to prevent those diseases from occurring altogether.


In other words, your six-month cleaning is meant to prevent oral health issues like gum disease and cavities. Seeing a dentist every six months for a cleaning and oral exam is one of the most important ways to safeguard your oral health. 


During your regular cleaning at Robinson Township Smiles, your hygienist will scrape hard-to-remove plaque and tartar away from your teeth, buff and polish your teeth, and floss them. X-rays may also be taken. 


Once your cleaning is complete, Dr. Rupert will examine your mouth to make sure your teeth and gums are healthy. Then, you’ll be sent home, and unless Dr. Rupert notices any issues, you’ll simply need to come back for another appointment in six months. 


Deep Cleanings Are Only Required For Patients With Gum Disease 


A deep cleaning, also known as “scaling and root planing” is not a prophylactic treatment. Deep cleanings are the first step that most dentists take when treating gum disease. This means you don’t need a deep cleaning unless you have gum disease. There’s no need to get this treatment if your gums are healthy. 


The treatment process is a lot more involved and complex, too. Typically, one half of your mouth is cleaned at a time, and this takes about two hours. You’ll need two appointments to complete the procedure.


In a deep cleaning, Dr. Rupert will numb your mouth, then special tools to clean deeply between the gums and teeth, where bacteria-filled plaque and tartar form and infect your gums. Removing plaque and tartar helps eliminate the source of the infection. 


He will also smooth out the roots of your teeth. This is because bacteria tend to collect in “pockets” below your teeth as gum disease gets worse. Smoothing the roots of the teeth helps eliminate these bacteria.


Along with antibiotic treatments, a deep cleaning may be enough to reverse minor cases of gum disease, or get more advanced cases of gum disease under control and halt the damage to your gums and teeth. 


Contact Robinson Township Smiles For The Dental Care You Need


Whether you need a new dentist in North Fayette, Oakdale, or Sewickley for six-month routine cleanings, or you suspect you have gum disease and may need a deep cleaning, Dr. Ryan Rupert is here to help. To schedule an appointment and get the dental care you need, contact Robinson Township Smiles online or give us a call at (412) 859-3833.

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