While it may sound like just a more intense teeth cleaning, deep cleanings are actually a standard treatment for patients diagnosed with gum disease (i.e. periodontal disease). This procedure is also sometimes referred to as “scaling & root planing” or “periodontal therapy”.

In periodontal disease, swollen unhealthy gums start to pull away from the teeth because of pockets where infection-causing plaque & tartar accumulate. During a deep cleaning, the dentist or hygienist removes plaque, tartar & bacteria from the surfaces of your teeth & tooth roots. The dentist or hygienist then smoothes the surface of the tooth root to make it harder for bacteria to stick in the future & easier for the gums to re-attach.

While deep cleaning cannot cure periodontal disease, it can slow or stop its progression. Deep cleanings can reduce the need for surgical intervention in the future & often help swollen, bleeding gums become healthy & pink again.

If you have gum disease, the dentist may recommend that deep cleanings, along with periodontal maintenance checkups, become part of your routine dental visits.