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How Long Does A Deep Teeth Cleaning Take?

Team General Dentistry

Deep teeth cleaning is the first line of defense against gum disease. Also known as scaling and root planing, deep teeth cleaning is a minimally invasive procedure that has the ability to treat and reverse gum disease. Because gum disease can compromise your teeth, gums, and overall health, it’s important to take a proactive approach and seek prompt treatment. So how long does a deep cleaning take? We answer this question and others below.

What is deep cleaning?

Dental hygienists clean teeth above the gum line during typical dental cleanings, but deep cleaning is a procedure in which a dentist or hygienist removes plaque and tartar from the periodontal pockets that form between the teeth and gums when inflammation is present. The gum tissue is pushed back so the pockets can be thoroughly cleaned. Then, root planing smooths the exposed surfaces of the roots, allowing them to reattach to the gums and close the periodontal pockets. Scaling and root planing have been shown in studies to be one of the most effective non-surgical treatments for gum disease.

How long does deep teeth cleaning take?

This is a difficult question to answer, as it depends on the severity of your gum disease. You may need only a one-hour long office visit, or you could need a two-hour appointment; some patients need multiple appointments because we determine it’s best to do one quadrant of the mouth at a time. When you come in for a consultation, we can let you know what to expect.

What happens during deep cleaning treatment?

It's natural to feel nervous before any dental procedure, but knowing what to expect can help. 

We use local anesthetic to numb the areas that will be deep cleaned during your appointment. You will be awake throughout the process, and while you'll feel some pressure and movement in your mouth as we work, you won’t feel any pain.

There are two steps to deep cleaning. Your dentist will first scale your teeth with a hand instrument, such as a periodontal scaler or curette, or an ultrasonic tool. Plaque and tartar are removed from above and below the gum line during scaling. Then, the roots of your teeth are planed to remove debris and create a smooth surface.

What can I expect after deep cleaning?

For a few days after treatment, you may experience tooth sensitivity and tenderness. Your gums may be sore as a result of the work done on them. It's also not uncommon for your gums to bleed a little, but if the bleeding persists or appears to be excessive, contact our office immediately.

We'll either recommend a saltwater rinse to ease soreness and prevent infection, or an antibacterial rinse, depending on your situation. Antibiotics may also be applied directly into the gum pockets during the scaling and root planing procedure.

Learn More About Deep Cleaning

If you’d like to learn more about deep cleaning, contact us today to schedule a consultation.