Deep Cleaning Teeth: 6 Signs That You Might Need To Do It

Do you know the signs of when your teeth may need a deep cleaning? Most people don't, but it's essential to be aware of the signs. 

We will discuss the six signs that indicate you might require a deep clean and cover how often dentists generally recommend it. Keep reading to learn more!

What are deep teeth cleaning?

A dentist explaining what deep cleaning is all about

Dental deep cleaning is a type of dental cleaning, also known as scaling and root planing, used to treat gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. 

Specialized tools are used to remove plaque and tartar buildup from the teeth and gum line. Because gum disease often begins at the gum line, deep cleanings include cleaning the roots of the teeth, which are located below the gum line.

After the procedure, a special antimicrobial agent may be applied to the gums to help prevent infection and promote healing.  Additionally, patients may be advised to follow a specific oral care routine at home.

Are deep cleanings painful?

Often, the level of discomfort varies on the individual's pain tolerance, the severity of the buildup on their teeth, and the techniques used by the dental professional performing the deep cleaning.

Many dentists offer the option of local anesthesia to minimize any discomfort or pain, or a topical anesthetic or numbing gel.

Are deep teeth cleaning worth it?

Yes, deep teeth cleanings are worth it as they are considered to be a low-risk procedure that can help prevent gum disease and other dental problems by removing harmful build-up.

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a serious condition that can cause damage to the teeth, gums, and bones supporting the teeth. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss, as well as bone loss, so it's important to take steps to prevent it.

How do you know when you need a deep dental cleaning?

Gum recession

A dental deep cleaning is usually recommended when there is evidence of gum disease, including additional signs such as:

However, additional signs may include: 

  1. Bleeding gums: If your gums bleed when you brush or floss, it may be a sign of gum disease.
  2. Large pockets at the gum line: Bacteria infect the gum tissue leading to pockets between the teeth and gums.
  3. Bad breath: Persistent bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be a sign of gum disease caused by bacteria in the mouth.
  4. Receding gums: If your gums appear to be pulling away from your teeth, it may be a sign of gum disease.
  5. Loose teeth: If your teeth feel loose or brittle, it may be a sign of advanced gum disease.
  6. Tartar build-up: Hard, yellow, or brown buildup on your teeth may be tartar, which can only be removed with a professional dental cleaning.

How much does deep teeth cleaning cost in San Diego?

Stacked wooden boxes with cost inscription

In San Diego, the average cost of a deep teeth cleaning can range from $200 to $400 per quadrant (or section) of the mouth. This means that a full-mouth deep cleaning can cost anywhere from $800 to $1,600.

Additional factors that may impact cost include the severity of the gum disease, the location of the dental practice, and the experience of the dental professional performing the procedure.

It's important to note that dental insurance may cover some or all of the cost of deep teeth cleaning, depending on your plan. 

How often do dentists recommend doing a deep cleaning?

A calendar on a bookmarked table

Dentists typically recommend doing deep teeth cleaning, also known as scaling and root planing, on an as-needed basis.

In general, patients with mild to moderate gum disease may need a deep cleaning every 6 to 12 months, while those with more severe gum disease may need more frequent cleanings, such as every 3 to 4 months.

Why are dentists pushing deep cleaning?

A man showing his swollen gums

Dentists may recommend deep cleaning when a patient has gum disease as it can lead to significant damage to the gums, teeth, and bone that supports the teeth and is one of the most effective ways to treat this condition.

Dentists may also recommend deep cleaning as a preventative measure for patients who are at risk of developing gum disease. This includes individuals with a history of gum disease, those with poor oral hygiene habits, and those with certain medical conditions that increase their risk of gum disease.

What are the benefits of deep cleaning for teeth?

A smile that reveals clean teeth and healthy gums

Getting teeth deep cleaned comes with several benefits and is an important part of maintaining good oral health, including: 

  • Prevents gum disease and periodontitis.
  • Prevents tooth loss and tooth decay.
  • Thoroughly removes plaque, tartar, and bacteria below the gum line.
  • Reduces bad breath.
  • Reduces risks of developing more serious dental problems.

Are there any disadvantages to deep teeth cleaning at the dentist?

A woman holding a toothbrush feels sensitive to her teeth

While deep teeth cleaning is generally a safe and effective procedure, there are some potential disadvantages that you should be aware of: 

  • Discomfort or pain.
  • Tooth sensitivity.
  • Gum recession.
  • Infection or abscess.
  • May loosen fillings.

What not to do after deep cleaning?

Someone who is breaking a cigarette

After a deep clean, it's important to take proper care of your teeth and gums to promote healing and prevent further damage, such as:

  • Do not drink or eat right away.
  • Do not smoke.
  • Avoid brushing too hard.
  • Avoid hard, crunchy, or sticky foods.
  • Don't skip a follow-up appointment.

By following these guidelines and taking good care of your teeth and gums, you can help promote healing and prevent further dental problems after deep cleaning.

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the difference between a deep cleaning vs regular cleaning teeth?

The main difference between regular cleaning and deep cleaning is the depth of cleaning. Regular cleaning focuses on the surfaces of the teeth and gums, while deep cleaning involves removing plaque and bacteria from below the gum line.

Another difference is that a deep cleaning typically takes longer and may require multiple visits, while a regular cleaning can be completed in a single appointment.

Can gums get infected after a deep dental treatment?

These dental procedures involve removing plaque and tartar from below the gum line, which can create small openings in the gums. These openings may allow bacteria to enter and cause an infection.

Symptoms of an infected gum after deep cleaning may include:

  • Swelling, redness, or inflammation of the gums.
  • Pain or discomfort in the affected area.
  • Pus or discharge coming from the gums.
  • Bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth.
  • Fever or chills in severe cases.

How to prevent gum disease after deep cleaning?

Here are some tips to help prevent gum disease after deep cleaning:

  • Maintain a regular good oral hygiene routine.
  • Maintain regular dental check-ups and routine teeth cleanings.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Maintain a healthy diet.
  • Manage stress levels.
  • Do a gum massage


Signs indicating that your teeth may need a deep cleaning may not be obvious. But it is essential for good preventive dental care and overall oral health. 

Deep dental cleanings can prevent more serious problems, even heart disease, from arising in the future and help you maintain a healthy mouth for years to come, so don’t hesitate to contact us at Smiles By Design in Carmel Mountain Ranch.

Contact Smiles by Design today!