What is a Deep Dental Cleaning and Why Would I Need One?

If you go to the dentist twice a year for dental check ups and teeth cleanings, you may be confused to hear you also need a deep dental cleaning. Both types of cleanings are important for your oral health, but Dr. Hiba Zakhour of A to Z Dental Studio in Fairfax, Virginia, recommends deep dental cleanings for patients with signs of gum disease. Read on to learn more.

What is gum disease?

Gingivitis is gum inflammation. When it advances, it can become gum disease known as periodontal disease or periodontitis. When bacteria get into the gum line and the gums get inflamed, the gums pull away from the teeth and form pockets. These pockets allow bacteria to grow and plaque to build up around the teeth.

Signs of gum disease include:


We’ll measure the size of the pockets around your teeth. A pocket of 4 mm or greater is a sign of trouble. It’s important to get treatment to keep the size of the pockets small so bacteria can’t get in and cause more damage. Untreated gum disease can lead to:

What you can do to prevent gum disease

Some people have a family history of gum disease or other health conditions that increase their chances of developing gum disease. But, there are things you can to do help control it:

Why you may need a deep dental cleaning

If you show signs of gum disease, Dr. Zakhour will recommend a deep dental cleaning to repair the damage and keep it from getting worse. She may also suggest dental check-ups and cleanings four times a year instead of two.

What is a deep dental cleaning?

A deep dental cleaning is made up of two procedures called teeth scaling and root planing. Scaling is scraping away the tartar and plaque around your teeth and in the pockets. Root planing is smoothing out the rough spots on your tooth roots so the gums can adhere properly. We may also inject medication into the pockets to help kill the bacteria.

Scaling and root planing may sound painful or scary, but don’t worry. Before your deep cleaning we’ll give you a local anesthetic to numb the area so you’re more comfortable during the procedure. We also break up the treatment over a few visits to give your mouth time to heal. 

After care

After a deep cleaning, you may be sore and have swollen gums for a few days. Your teeth may also be sensitive to hot or cold temperature food and drinks.

Stay on top of your oral health and keep gum disease in check with Dr. Zakhour at A to Z Dental Studio. Book an appointment online or call 571-290-7059 today.

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