Good dental hygiene is essential for fighting bad breath and preventing gum disease. Therefore, brushing and flossing are necessary and routine dental cleanings twice a year.

However, a dentist may suggest deep teeth cleaning in some cases. For example, bleeding gums, receding gums, and loose teeth could indicate a need for deep cleaning. But deep cleanings – also known as periodontal scaling or root planing – have risks.

This article explains the advantages and disadvantages of deep cleaning teeth.

What is a deep cleaning of the teeth?

A deep teeth cleaning can remove plaque and tartar buildup, reducing gum irritation and making your gums healthier.

Plaque forms on teeth as a sticky film. This film contains bacteria and develops when saliva mixes with food particles. By brushing your teeth daily, you can remove plaque from your teeth.

Brushing, however, does not remove all the plaque between the teeth. Excess plaque hardens or calcifies, resulting in tartar.

Tartar or plaque can accumulate on the teeth, causing gum disease. This includes gingivitis, a condition characterized by gum inflammation. Gingivitis can lead to periodontitis if it is not treated. This painful infection destroys the strong bone that holds the teeth in place.

The advantages of deep cleaning

Prevents gum disease

Reduces bacteria that cause bad breath

Guards the roots of the teeth

Maintains healthy gums

Reduces the risk of tooth loss

Disadvantages of deep cleaning

Sensitivity and slight pain

It might make gums recede

Leading to infection risk after the procedure

Risk of nerve damage

What are the advantages of deep cleaning teeth?

Gum disease might require a deep cleaning if it causes the gums to pull away from the teeth, causing an area of more than 5 millimeters in depth.

When gum disease gets worse, the space between your gums and teeth can widen. It can cause loose teeth or tooth loss because it weakens your teeth’ support structures.

Dental cleanings can provide a variety of benefits, including:

Preventing gum disease from spreading.

Relieving an infection and encouraging healing.

Cleaning teeth thoroughly below the level of the gum line

Removing gum disease-related bad breath

Keeping your roots healthy

Are there any disadvantages to deep cleaning teeth?

Gum disease can be treated with deep cleaning, but it comes with risks. Deep cleaning teeth has these disadvantages:

Nerve damage may result

It does not guarantee the reattachment of gums to teeth

May carry a risk of gums receding

It may result in severe infection, especially in those with a compromised immune system

Lasting tooth pain and sensitivity

Most commonly, side effects include pain and sensitivity. In most cases, deep cleaning has minimal risks and lasts about five to seven days, even if the cleaning is extensive.

How is a deep cleaning of teeth performed?

A deep cleaning differs from routine cleaning. For example, plaque and tartar are removed above the gum line during regular cleaning. On the other hand, the deep cleaning removes plaque and tartar from underneath the gumline.

The presence of gum disease creates a gap between your teeth and gums, where plaque and tartar can accumulate. The buildup is removed by cleaning below the gum line.

Root planing and gum scaling are essential steps in deep cleaning. The deep cleaning process typically involves two or more visits and scaling and root planing the gums. Each appointment may last up to two hours.

When you visit the dentist for a tooth scaling, your dentist will remove plaque and tartar from below the gum line. In the root planning process, your dentist removes plaque and tartar from the root of your teeth. As a result, your gums can reattach to your teeth, thereby decreasing the space between your teeth and gums.

Is deep cleaning painful?

The procedure can cause some discomfort, so you will be given a topical or local anesthetic to make your gums numb.

After treatment, some sensitivity is possible. For example, the gums may swell, and you may also experience mild bleeding.

How to reduce sensitivity after the procedure?

To reduce sensitivity, it’s better to consume soft foods following your procedure. You can have foods like mashed potatoes, yogurt or bananas. Also, stay away from hot or cold food and drinks.

Inflammation can be reduced with over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen. You can also gargle with warm, salty water.

To promote healing and decrease gum inflammation, it is important to brush and floss regularly. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to brush and floss at least twice a day.


Deep cleanings assist in removing bad breath and improving gum health. However, deep cleanings can cause complications, so it’s necessary to understand the risks involved.

Even though it is a standard, safe procedure, you may experience sensitivity and swelling afterward. See your dentist if swelling, bleeding, or pain persists for longer than a week after your procedure.