972 255 3400

Accepting Medicaid & CHIPS

We are in-network on most PPO plans


4070 North Beltline Road, Suite 134, Irving, TX 75038


Phone : 972 255 3400 Fax: 972 255 4300

Request Appointment

Family, Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry

Regular Cleaning and Deep Cleaning

What is the difference between a Regular cleaning and deep cleaning?

There is some confusion about the difference between scaling and root planing. Scaling/ Regular Cleaning is basically the process of removing dental tartar from the surfaces of the teeth. Root planing is the process of smoothening the root surfaces and removing any infected tooth structure. If you have gum disease or gum pocketing, the gum pockets around the teeth will have deepened, thereby allowing tartar deposits to form under the gum line.

The two processes tend to blur together since during the cleaning process, Dr. Paul scales away tartar and performs any necessary root planing at the same time. Any roughness can be planed away to result in a silky-smooth surface.

What is Deep Cleaning (Deep Scaling and Root Planing or SRP)?

If plaque (soft, sticky, bacteria infested film) and tartar (calculus) is left on the teeth, it provides the right conditions for bacteria to thrive. The bacteria irritate the gums, and they bleed easily. You may notice this when you are brushing your teeth, or eating. This is the early stage of gum disease called gingivitis. When you have gingivitis, Dr. Paul will clean your teeth by scaling and polishing them. Most adults have some degree of gum disease.

If gingivitis not treated, the inflammation will work its way down towards the foundations of the tooth causing a “periodontal pocket”. Again, within the confines of the pocket, the conditions are such that the bacteria can thrive, and cause more damage.

Gum disease can break down the support structures of the teeth, so that eventually, they will become loose. Most people may not notice it until it is quite severe and it often has no symptoms. Sadly, the damage to the support structures of the teeth is irreversible. The good news is that if gum disease is caught in time, its progression can be halted and improved upon.

To stop gum disease from progressing, Dr. Paul may advise periodontal therapy, or deep cleaning. This gets rid of the bacteria in the pocket provides the necessary conditions for healing to occur.

Does it hurt?

Depending on the depth of the pocket and severity of the root surface irregularity Dr. Paul may wish to make the area numb so that the process is comfortable for you.

As an alternative Dr. Paul, can use an injectable anesthetic Oragix might be an option to try with deeper pocket cleaning. It is a special non-injection device that delivers topical anesthetic gel gently into the gum pockets thereby avoiding numbing of the lips and or tongue as can occur with injected local anesthetics. Oraqix mostly numbs the gum pocket itself so it may not be effective in eliminating sensations in the teeth themselves.

Sometimes if the pockets are not too deep, there may be little or no discomfort during the procedure – even without numbing. The only sensation may be the physical scraping feeling along the teeth as the area is cleaned and smoothened. A root planed root surface free of tartar has a better chance of allowing the gum tissues to heal and reattach to it. As a result, some deep gum pockets can be reduced after a deep cleaning.

How long does it take?

Typically, with deeper pockets and extensive rough root surfaces, the deep scaling and root planing procedure might be broken down into quadrants of work per appointment. For example, the upper right side of the mouth might be worked on one day, and the three other parts worked on at separate appointments. Or alternatively, one half of the mouth (right or left, upper or lower) might be cleaned per appointment. This also allows for only a part of the mouth being frozen at a time and makes for more manageable, shorter appointments. In some cases Dr. Paul can do full mouth in one day. On an average it takes 20-30 minutes per quadrant.

What can I expect afterwards?

Discomfort can vary after root planing, but one can expect it to be more sore afterwards since it’s usually in a deeper region under the gums.

The teeth themselves can become a bit more sensitive to temperature, and bleeding might occur for a little while.

Over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen work very well to alleviate discomfort, but stronger painkillers can be given should you need them.

Brushing and flossing can be delayed or done more gently to avoid aggravating any bruised or tender gum areas.

Dr. Paul usually recommends salt water or chlorhexidine rinses.