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

A woman receiving a dental exam

In order to maintain the best possible oral hygiene, you should brush and floss twice a day and have your teeth professionally cleaned twice a year. But, sometimes life can get in the way of your ability to maintain optimal dental health.

When circumstances prevent you from maintaining the best possible oral health, you may benefit from a deep dental cleaning. At Skyview Dentistry in Charlotte, North Carolina, our dentists often recommend deep cleanings for people who haven’t had professional cleanings every six months and need some extra care to bring their teeth and gums back to a healthier state. Read on to learn what a deep dental cleaning is and why you may need one. 

Your gums might have deep pockets

Unlike your favorite sweatshirt, if your gums have deep pockets, that’s not a good thing. When you don’t brush as often as you should, and you can’t remember the last time you had a professional cleaning, there’s a good chance plaque and tartar have built up on your teeth, especially along your gumline. After a while, the plaque can cause your gum tissue to pull away from your teeth and create pockets. 

Gum pockets are a breeding ground where bacteria can settle and form a sticky film of plaque. When this happens, your gums can become inflamed and pull away from your teeth. Once in the pockets, plaque can get trapped, and you won’t be able to remove it with brushing and flossing, or even a regular professional cleaning. 

To find out if you can benefit from a deep cleaning, our experienced dental hygienists use a small dental probe to measure the area around your teeth and gums. Healthy gums have pockets that are no more than 3 millimeters deep. If a pocket measures 5 millimeters or more, the pocket is too deep for a regular dental cleaning. 

Gum disease and dental cleanings

Red, inflamed gums and gum pockets are the early signs of gum disease. If you catch it early enough, a regular professional cleaning may be able to get your mouth back into shape. But, if the plaque along your gums remains in the pockets, and your gums have been red and inflamed for a long time, the pockets can become deeper. 

At this point, the best way to remove the accumulated plaque buildup is with a deep cleaning that includes scaling and root planing. If you let the earliest stages of gum disease — called gingivitis — remain untreated, it can quickly progress to periodontitis — an irreversible form of gum disease that can lead to bone and tooth loss. 

Deep cleaning can help restore your mouth to optimal health

A deep cleaning has two parts: scaling and root planing. Scaling removes the plaque and tartar above and below your gumline. During the scaling process, your dentist cleans all the way to the bottom of the gum pockets to ensure that all the plaque is removed, so it can no longer cause gum irritation. 

The next part — root planing — involves smoothing the roots of your teeth so your gums can reattach more easily. Scaling and root planing may take more than one visit depending on the severity of your condition. In some cases, you may need a local anesthetic to help keep you comfortable. 

We also use the most advanced laser technology to eliminate infected gum tissue and halt tooth decay. Laser dental cleanings reduce the need for anesthesia, allow your gum tissue to heal quickly, and reduce your risk of infection from bacteria. 

If it’s been a long time since your last professional dental visit, book an appointment online or over the phone with Skyview Dentistry to see if a deep cleaning can help you.


We look forward to meeting you. Call 704.632.7700 or request an appointment online to set up your first visit. We’ll be in touch soon.