What Is A Dental Deep Cleaning And Why Do I Need One?

Dentist Blog

If your dentist has recommended that you undergo a deep cleaning procedure, this is usually because he has seen evidence of gum disease or a buildup of bacteria or plaque that can cause decay or a loss of bone. A deep cleaning can help correct these problems and prevent them from getting worse, but before you agree to it, make sure you know that it is absolutely necessary and what you will be paying for it.

What's the Difference?

A regular teeth cleaning is the one you get once or twice a year. It may feel like a deep cleaning, but that's true only in that it's more than what you can do yourself at home. This type of cleaning is preventative, which is why you should get it done consistently.

A deep cleaning is a procedure you won't undergo without it first being recommended by your dentist and approved by you. Your dentist may recommend this if you have problems with your gums, like pockets – a space in between your teeth and gums – that can lead to infections or gum inflammation. This process is much more expensive than a standard cleaning, but it should also be rarely necessary, if at all.

When is a Deep Cleaning Necessary?

A deep cleaning removes bacteria and plaque from the pockets in between your gums and teeth. It is often recommended if you have pockets that are more than four or five millimeters deep, or if your dentist sees signs of bone loss. These pockets can form as a result of general lack of dental hygiene, but also things like smoking. At this point, a deep cleaning becomes a useful option to clean out these pockets and let the gums heal, which can also help prevent further damage.

Does My Insurance Cover It?

There's no guarantee that your dental insurance will cover it. Before you agree to any procedure, even if your dentist says your insurance should cover it, give them a call to make sure. If they don't, you aren't out of options. Look for a discount dental plan to help with the costs, or look for a local dental school that can provide discount services.

Is It Absolutely Necessary?

Since a deep cleaning can be so expensive, a little skepticism is a good idea. The best way to figure out what you need before agreeing to anything is to get a second opinion. Be wary if a dentist tries to push the procedure on you without looking at X-rays or performing their own examination. Also be wary if a dentist says it's worth it because it can only help; a deep cleaning done unnecessarily can actually make some problems worse.

However, if you do have serious gum or bone issues, a deep cleaning may be the way to go. The good news is that the cleaning will be relegated only to the areas of your mouth that have the problem; for example, you may only get the upper left quadrant of your teeth deep cleaned if that's where the problem lies.


23 June 2016