3 Types of Dental Cleanings

Prophylaxis Dental Cleaning

Regular dental cleanings are also known as prophylaxis. The origin of the word is Greek meaning “an advance guard”, or treatment employed as a protective, precautionary, or preventative measure. The ADA recommends both adults and children should schedule a regular dental cleaning twice a year for optimal oral health.

A regular cleaning involves polishing and tartar removal. Tartar builds up on the teeth and can cause gum disease and bone to pull away from the teeth. Routine cleaning is important for maintaining dental health. Deep cleaning is more intensive and involves the removal of tartar and plaque that have built up below the gum line. A full mouth debridement can restore oral health and improve the appearance of teeth.


Dental Cleaning


Routine Cleaning

The first of the three types of dental cleanings is routine cleaning. In this type, the dentist uses special tools to remove plaque and tartar deposits and polish teeth using a gritted paste. After a cleaning, your hygienist will likely prescribe a fluoride mouthwash to help prevent the buildup of tartar. A deep cleaning will usually take several sessions to achieve the desired results.

Deep Teeth Cleaning

Deep cleaning is more serious and targets further below the gum line than regular cleaning. A deep cleaning may be advised if your dentist or hygienist detects gum disease. One way gum disease is diagnosed is through periodontal charting. The dentist will conduct a periodontal risk assessment by using a probing tool to measure how far your gums pull away from your teeth.  If any pockets are more than five millimeters, deep cleaning will likely be recommended as the first line of defense. 

Other considerations determining the extent of gum disease include bleeding gums, swelling, bruising, bad breath, and tooth sensitivity. A deep dental cleaning may involve multiple visits to your dentist to remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria from the gum tissue. The deep dental cleaning process also helps prevent and alleviate infections, which left untreated, may lead to needing a root canal. 

If you are not seeing a dentist every six months, your dentist might also recommend deep cleaning as a preventive measure. 

A deep-cleaning session can take as long as two hours, so it is helpful to be as relaxed as possible before your appointment. If it has been a long time since your last cleaning, an additional follow-up session might also be necessary. 

For severe cases, where there is an infection present, the patient may be treated with antibiotics prior to the deep cleaning to reduce sensitivity. These medicines should be taken as directed.

You can also use home remedies to minimize pain both before and after your deep cleaning. A saltwater rinse with warm water and Listerine or Peroxide will help to break up any impacted wreckage and reduce sensitivity. 

Deep teeth cleaning is usually slightly unpleasant for patients, but the pain is minimal. Most people recover completely within hours after the procedure and do not experience complications. However, if you do experience unusual pain, you should notify your dentist right away. 

If you do not have insurance, you can get a dental plan with a dentist through the Affordable Care Act exchange. These plans are available to both adults and children.

If you are an adult who has never had a deep cleaning and has been diagnosed with any kind of gum disease. ask your dentist or hygienist if a deep cleaning would be beneficial for your oral health.

Deep cleaning can prevent further complications and can even reverse gum disease in its early stages. 

After deep teeth cleaning, your gums may feel sore and sensitive. Soft foods such as yogurt can help reduce this sensitivity. Avoid eating acidic foods and drinks for at least two weeks. A saltwater rinse can help ease the soreness and discomfort. You should continue to brush your teeth at least twice a day after deep teeth cleaning. 

Full Mouth Debridement

A full mouth debridement is often performed when a person has chronic gum disease caused by a heavy buildup of plaque and tartar that has gone below the gum line. Severe gum disease may be causing pain, loose teeth, gingivitis, or even bone loss. The process is more involved than regular cleaning and you may require local anesthesia or sedation.

A full mouth debridement can take up to two hours. In addition, the procedure may require pre-medication and the treatment is sometimes divided into several visits.

If you have other medical conditions, you may want to consult a doctor first.  Your dentist might refer to this treatment as periodontal debridement. 

Other similar procedures called scaling or root planing are occasionally indicated in cases of severe or chronic gum disease. 

Your dentist will use an ultrasonic device to break up tartar and debris that has formed below the gum line. 

A full mouth debridement can be intimidating, and will not be painless, but understanding the benefits and a caring dentist can help relieve your anxiety and discomfort.

Patients who are suffering from periodontal disease often need a full mouth debridement, as regular dental cleanings cannot remove all the tartar and plaque that are present in your mouth. If you’re concerned about your health and have not seen a dentist in a long time, you should schedule a consultation with your dentist.

In addition to cleaning the gums and teeth, a full mouth debridement also helps diagnose other dental issues that you may have. 

Your dentist can recommend the dental cleaning treatment that is best for you. 


About Us

Mohip Dental & Associates of Wellington and The Laser Dental Center of Wellington is the premier general and cosmetic dental practice located in the Village of Wellington, Florida (a suburb of West Palm Beach).

Our goal is to provide our community with the highest level of cosmetic, restorative, prosthetic and emergency dental care available. Our ultra-modern, state-of-the-art facility provides laser dentistry, CEREC in-house crown and bridge fabrication, computer assisted shade matching and digital radiography to make your dental experience more comfortable and positive.


Phone: 561-798-1600
Address: 250 Professional Way
Wellington, FL 33414

Schedule: Mon-Fri: 9:00am – 5:00pm Sat: 9:00am – 1:00pm