Regular Cleaning vs Deep Cleaning? What’s the difference?

Regular Cleaning vs Deep Cleaning? What’s the difference?

So your dentist has said that you need a “deep cleaning” what does that mean? That the Dentist or hygienist will just scrape plaque  off your gums harder? That there is a different setting on the dental cleaning machine?It’s not quite that simple. 

What is a Routine or “Regular” Cleaning

A healthy mouth typically can be maintained with “Routine Cleaning” twice a year (Dental Code 1110) . This is a mouth which has healthy gums, and no or minimal gum inflammation. This is a Preventative Procedure where minimal tartar is removed from above the gumline. This is an extension of the preventative maintenance you do at home when you brush and floss; with a dental professional having better and easier access in hard to reach areas. It is a thorough cleaning by getting into the areas of the mouth that might be missed during your regular home routine of brushing and flossing. 

Think of it as getting a cleaning crew to help deep clean your house! This is on top of keeping your house regularly maintained. Keeping your teeth and gums well maintained will prevent / minimize problems from happening in the future and also provide a clean mouth feel.

Source: NIH

Almost 50% of adults in the US have some sort of periodontal disease. (Center for Disease Control, 2012)

What is Deep Cleaning?

Once plaque builds up, gums become inflamed. This inflammation pulls the gums away from the teeth and creates “gum pockets”. Gum pockets harbor more harmful bacteria and eventually bone loss can occur. In this scenario a preventative cleaning is not appropriate. 

You need a dental procedure (as opposed to a preventative/maintenance cleaning). This involves  removing plaque, tartar and inflamed deposits from BELOW the gumline. These pockets now hold bacteria that eats away bone. There are multiple types of deep cleaning depending on the severity and number of teeth affected.  

So although “deep cleaning” sounds like it's just a different type of dental cleaning, it is a dental procedure which involves working below the gumline. 

So if your dentist recommends a “deep cleaning” it’s not just getting your mouth cleaner than regular, it’s a matter of fixing the foundation of your mouth, your gums and the bone that anchors teeth in place. 

Think of it as getting a specialist to repair the foundation or beams of your house! Although called a “cleaning” it’s attempting to fix something.

Importance of Healthy Gums to your Oral Health: 

Your gums are definitely the foundation of your mouth. Here are the 4 stages of gum health:

  1. Health gums & teeth - minimal to no gum inflammation, no pockets. 
  2. Gingivitis - Inflamed bleeding Gums and Plaque above the gumline
  3. Early stage Periodontitis - Gum Pockets and Bone has begun to break down
  4. Advanced Periodontitis - Deeper Pockets and Advanced Bone Loss

Importance of Healthy Gums to your Overall Health:

Healthy gums are the keystone to a confident smile, but they are also important to your overall health?


Did you know that before any organ transplant patients must get clearance from a dentist? That is because unhealthy and inflammatory mouth bacteria can cause complications. Gum disease has also been linked to:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Dementia
  • Alzheimer’s 
  • Auto-Immune Disease
  • Hypertension / Blood Pressure

So make sure you get the right type of gum treatment for your condition and keep the foundation of your mouth and body health!!

So What Now?

It's important to understand the difference between regular dental cleaning and deep cleaning in order to maintain the health of your teeth,gums and body. Regular cleaning, also known as a routine cleaning or preventative cleaning, is a procedure that is recommended twice a year for individuals with healthy gums and minimal or no gum inflammation. Deep cleaning, on the other hand, is a dental procedure that involves removing plaque, tartar, and inflamed deposits from below the gumline in cases of gum disease, such as gingivitis or periodontitis. If you're concerned about the health of your teeth and gums, don't hesitate to call Trooth & Smiles Family Dental Office for an exam and cleaning. Or book online here!