Many patients may have heard of deep cleaning and consider that to be the work that their hygienist performs every six months. However, those routine cleanings are not the same as a deep cleaning.
Deep cleanings are generally conducted when patients are missing their regular cleanings. These procedures are specifically conducted in order to correct periodontal or gum disease.
When you go to the dentist, your hygienist will use a probe in order to assess the number of bacteria or buildup on or around the teeth. The depth of the gum tissue that lies between the teeth is called pocketing if there are more than 5 millimeters between the gums and teeth. This can be a concern because pocketing can be an area that harbors bacteria that can harm your teeth and deteriorate the enamel.
In the case that your hygienist measures pockets that are 5 millimeters or greater, it is likely that your dentist will suggest that you receive a deep cleaning. This deep cleaning involves scaling and root planning and is typically arranged in a separate appointment.