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Westgate Dental

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

Jun 12, 2023
To have good oral health, you need to have healthy oral hygiene practices. But in some cases, you may need to take it one step further with our professional deep dental cleaning treatment. Here’s what it is and why it might be necessary.

Since you were a small child, you’ve probably heard about the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene for the overall health of your teeth and gums. This includes regular brushing, flossing, and dental checkups, all of which play a vital role in preventing common dental issues. 

Unfortunately, there are instances when your routine oral care might not be enough to address specific problems. In such cases, a deep dental cleaning, also known as scaling and root planing, may be necessary. 

Our Westgate Dental dental experts, Ryan Langel, DDS, and Jeremy Flinkman, DDS, explain how this treatment works and why you might need it.

What is a deep dental cleaning?

A deep dental cleaning removes plaque, tartar, and bacteria from below your gumline and the root surfaces of your teeth. 

Unlike a regular dental cleaning, which focuses on the visible surfaces of your teeth, a deep dental cleaning reaches areas that are difficult to access during regular oral care routines. We usually recommend this treatment if you have gum disease or are at risk of developing it.

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, occurs when bacteria in your mouth cause inflammation and infection of the gums. It often starts as gingivitis, characterized by red, swollen, and bleeding gums. 

If left untreated, it can progress to periodontitis, which is more severe and can lead to tooth loss and other complications.

When might a deep dental cleaning be necessary?

Paying attention to your oral health can alert you to issues we might need to address, such as:

Gum disease

If you’ve been diagnosed with gum disease, a deep dental cleaning is typically part of the gum disease treatment plan. It helps remove the bacteria and plaque buildup that contribute to the infection and allows your gums to heal.

Tartar buildup

Tartar, also known as calculus, is a hardened form of plaque that you can’t remove by regular brushing and flossing. If you have a significant buildup of tartar, a deep dental cleaning can effectively remove it, reducing the risk of gum disease and other oral health problems.

Deep pockets

Deep pockets occur when your gums pull away from your teeth, creating spaces where bacteria can thrive. These pockets are difficult to clean with regular oral hygiene practices. 

A deep dental cleaning can remove the bacteria and debris from these pockets, promoting gum reattachment and preventing further damage.


Even if you don't currently have gum disease or significant tartar buildup, we might recommend a deep dental cleaning as a preventive measure. It helps remove any early signs of gum disease and allows for a thorough examination of your oral health, helping us to detect and address any potential issues before they worsen.

How a deep dental cleaning works

During a deep dental cleaning, we use special instruments to carefully remove the plaque and tartar from below your gumline and the root surfaces of your teeth. We may perform the procedure in one or multiple visits, depending on the severity of your condition.

A deep dental cleaning may cause some discomfort or sensitivity, especially if you have sensitive gums. But we can provide numbing gel and local anesthesia to minimize any pain during your procedure.

After a deep dental cleaning, follow our instructions for proper oral care. This typically includes maintaining a consistent oral hygiene routine, such as brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and using an antimicrobial mouthwash. 

Regular dental checkups and cleanings are also essential for monitoring your oral health and preventing the recurrence of gum disease.

Maintaining good oral hygiene and seeking professional dental care are key to keeping your smile healthy and beautiful. To check on the condition of your oral health, contact us at Westgate Dental in West Des Moines, Iowa, by calling 515-223-5001 or clicking here to request an appointment today.