Deep Cleaning Teeth, Procedure, Pain, Cost & Side Effects

If you are suffering buildup of debris under your gum line, dental deep cleaning is all you need. It is very necessary for maintenance of healthy teeth and gums. Read to find out what it is, the procedure, the pain it comes with, cost and side effects.

What is Deep Cleaning Teeth? Is Dental Deep Cleaning Necessary?

Deep teeth cleaning definition

Also referred to as root planning or scaling, deep teeth cleaning is a procedure carried out by a dental hygienist so as to treat periodontal and gum disease.

dental deep cleaning teeth procedure home and cost
Deep Teeth Cleaning

Is Dental Deep Cleaning Necessary?

American Academy of Periodontology explains that every adult should go for periodontal assessment each year. There are several reasons you need deep teeth cleaning;

Prevent Tooth Loss

Built-up of plaque is one of the major reasons you experience gum disease. Gum disease as a result leads to teeth loss. Deep cleaning of your teeth eliminates plaque from your teeth and gums and as a result; you are safe from teeth loss or deterioration of your teeth.

Improve overall health

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 64 million adults in the United States are struggling with gum disease[1].

A strong connection has been established between your overall health and oral health. Diseases such as cardiovascular disease and stroke have their roots in poor oral health.

This therefore means that, deep cleaning will help you avoid health complications associated with poor oral health.

Boosts your esteem

Deep cleaning brightens your teeth and gives you greater confidence. For consistent results remember to clean your teeth on a regular basis.

Dental Deep Cleaning Pain-Does Deep Cleaning Hurt?

Does it hurt?

Deep teeth cleaning may hurt depending on the depth of the pocket and how severe the irregularity in the root surface is. When the pockets during the procedure are not too deep, you will not have any pains.

Why does it hurt?

Teeth sensitivity

If your teeth are already sensitive to extreme temperatures and pressure, dental cleaning aggravates the sensitivity of your nerve endings. This as a result causes temporary pain.

Gum inflammation

Sometimes, deep teeth cleaning results to inflammation of the gums. This inflammation causes pain but the pain goes away in a few days.

Significant tartar buildup

Too much tartar build up on your teeth insulates the teeth from too much heat or cold. After the plaque has been removed, the teeth are exposed more to sensations. This explains why you may experience more pain.

How is the pain dealt with?

To reduce the pain that comes with deep teeth cleaning, your dentist prescribes some pain reliever drugs for you before and during the procedure.

Moreover, you are advised to start using desensitizing toothpaste a few weeks before going for deep teeth cleaning. This helps reduce sensitivity before deep teeth cleaning since sensitivity contributes to the pain you experience during the cleaning.

To avoid pain during the procedure, your doctor will inject you with a local anesthesia. You will only experience a little pain in case you bite your inner side of the cheek or tongue while you are still numb. Do not eat while you are still numb.

Deep Cleaning Teeth at Home-Procedure & How to do it yourself

How to deep clean your teeth yourself

Deep teeth cleaning majorly involves removal of bacteria stuck on gums, and plaque as well as tartar from your teeth. You can opt to save the money you would use for deep cleaning by doing it at home on your own. Below are the steps you should follow for proper deep cleaning of your teeth at home;

  1. Take your toothbrush and ensure it is at 45 degrees to the gum line. When cleaning the upper teeth, the toothbrush should point upwards, that is, towards the side of the nose. When cleaning your lower teeth, the brush should point towards your chin. Holding your toothbrush in these respective positions ensures your gum line is not left out during cleaning.
  2. Clean the outer surfaces of your teeth by using a short forth and back motion. Clean at most two tooth surfaces at a time. Ensure you are gentle when you clean the teeth or gums otherwise you will end up doing so much harm to them.
  3. Follow the instructions above to clean the inner side of your teeth. Remember to hold the toothbrush at 45 degrees so that the inner side gum line is not left out.
  4. Scrub the chewing surfaces in a forth and back motion to get rid of any stuck food remains.
  5. Holding the brush vertically, clean the front teeth in an up and down movement. Brush your tongue too as it may have some food remains stuck on it as well as harmful bacteria. [2]

How to deep clean teeth at home with help of someone

Alternatively, you can visit your dentist and purchase a deep teeth cleaning kit then get a friend to help you to clean your teeth. All you will need to do is ensure your friend disinfects her or his hands before and after the cleaning. Remember to carefully read the instructions on the kit.

Deep Cleaning Procedure (by a Dentist)

When you choose to go to a dentist, you need to visit earlier so as to make an appointment and consult on the cost of the procedure. The procedure below will be followed by your dentist;

  1. The dentist determines where the deep cleaning is needed. Your dentist only focuses on the areas that are affected and need the cleaning.
  2. If necessary, your doctor injects your gums with a local anesthesia. This is meant to numb the gums so that you do not experience pains during deep cleaning. The anesthesia numbs your tongue and lips as well. Where the doctor uses a gel, it only numbs your gums. Ask your doctor not to use anesthetics on you if you are uncomfortable with their side effects.
  3. Your dentist now scales your teeth. While you keep your mouth widely open, your dentist will use a tool that is hook-shaped to remove the plaque that is below your gum line. Your dentist may also opt to use a device that is ultrasonic to similarly remove the plaque.
  4. Your dentist moves on to the second phase of deep cleaning which is root planning. This step involves smoothing of the gums with a tool which reduces pockets that have developed between the teeth and gums.
  5. The dentist may also brush your teeth with a high powered electric brush. With a granular consistency, the dentist scrubs your teeth. Professional flossing is then done on your teeth and gums. This is meant to remove any plaque that is still left.
  6. Finally, the dentist rinses your mouth using a liquid containing fluoride. Your doctor then gives you advice on post-cleaning care. The dentist may also prescribe a pill to prevent infection and reduce the pain that you may experience once the numbness is gone.

Deep Cleaning vs Regular Cleaning


Deep Cleaning of Teeth Side Effects

Over time now, some side effects have been associated with deep teeth cleaning and you need to be aware of them. They include the following;

Recession of gums

After deep cleaning, your gums are likely to recede by about a millimeter. The procedure shrinks the deep pockets but they heal with time. Receding gums may expose you to a higher risk of oral complications. For instance, it leaves your root canals exposed and hence, you get more teeth sensitivity to either too hot or too cold temperatures.

Swelling and inflammation of gums

After the procedure, your gums may be inflamed or swollen for about two days. Even that, the swelling and inflammation goes away with time.

Root bleeding

This is majorly accelerated by root canal exposure brought by recession of gums as discussed above. The bleeding only occurs to some people but with be gone within a short time.

Tender gums

Once you go for teeth cleaning, your gums become tender and the tender they become the more likely they are to get pricked and bleed. You are advised to brush gently to prevent bleeding since the gums become temporarily delicate.

Deep Cleaning Teeth Aftercare

Dealing with pain after deep cleaning

You may or may not experience pain after deep cleaning. This will depend on how thorough the procedure was and whether or not your doctor used anesthetics. To deal with the pain, your dentist prescribes some pain relievers for you. You are advised to eat the easily chewable foods as straining your teeth and gums worsens the pain.

Other aftercare instructions/Routine

During deep cleaning, your dentist injects you with local anesthesia around your gums. This causes numbness of the gums and will require you to wait for some time till the numbness goes away. If you eat before the numbness goes away, you are likely to bite yourself and this will bring painful sores once the numbness is gone.

Some of the other instructions you will need to follow include the following;

  • Avoid acidic foods since they turn out to be very harsh to your tender gums. Such foods include; pickles, citrus fruits, red wine, fruit juice, and tomatoes. As well, spices and food seasoning may cause discomfort in your gums.
  • After deep teeth cleaning, you must maintain high levels of hygiene so as to ensure the chances of getting plaque are nil. Plaque formation will delay healing of your teeth and gums. Your gums are consequently subjected to more infections and they do not heal completely.
  • Do not take super-sized foods at least for the next 48 hours. Foods that are too huge for easy chewing will exert pressure on your gums and this will extend the time they take before healing. After deep teeth cleaning, you should avoid stressing your teeth since they still need time to heal.
  • On the morning after deep cleaning, rinse your mouth with warm water containing salt. This should be repeated severally until you are healed completely. This solution also eliminates irritation of the gums.
  • To ease the swelling following deep teeth cleaning, you are advised to use frozen peas or rather an ice pack on the cheek. Leave it for fifteen minutes then repeat this before going to bed. To keep the swelling down, keep your head elevated through the night. By the time you wake up, the swelling will have reduced.
  • Ensure that you take all your meals. This is because, proper nutrition decreases the length of time you take to heal. In addition to that, take a lot of water as it is very necessary for proper hydration.

Is smoking cigarettes after deep cleaning recommended?

For about a week to two weeks following deep cleaning, you are advised to avoid smoking.  Smoking not only irritates your gums but it also delays the healing process. In fact, you are advised to quit smoking completely.

Is drinking alcohol after dental deep cleaning sage?

Dr. Daniel Wolter, Dentistry, explains that, you can drink alcohol by the next day if and only if your doctor carried out a regular deep teeth cleaning. Even that, if you went through an assertive procedure, such as a surgery, you must avoid alcohol until you heal completely. You can seek your dentist’s advice on the same before leaving the hospital.

Dr. Sandra Eleczko, Dentistry, emphasizes that, you must follow the instructions given by your doctor and ask the dentist all questions concerning post care instructions.  She feels that, you can take a moderate amount of alcohol unless you are taking pain medications. She insists that it has to be moderate.

How long for Gums to Heal after Deep Cleaning

How long your gums take before they heal is determined by how well you take care of them after deep cleaning. In most cases, if you avoid foods that your dentist asks you to, you will be healed in 2 to 3 days. However, for some people, it may take up to a week. If the discomfort goes beyond a week, you need to see your doctor.

How much does Deep Cleaning Teeth Cost (Periodontal Scaling and Root Planning Price)

Price determinants

  • Dentist’s office and local rates

Different dentists charge differently. You will need to visit different dentists prior to the cleaning and compare their prices and services.

  • Complexity of the procedure

If your deep teeth cleaning involves use of dental x-rays, you will definitely incur extra costs. The cost in this case varies depending on number of x-rays to be done.

  • Dental insurance cover

Dental insurance covers for 100% cost of deep teeth cleaning up to two times in a year. A more frequent visit for dental cleaning will therefore require you to pay an extra fee. Otherwise, you can get your teeth cleaned under dental insurance for at most twice a year with no pay. Some procedures, however, require you to pay an extra price. Consult your dentist first.

Average price

Following the determinants discussed above, prices charged for teeth cleaning vary. The cost of teeth cleaning however ranges between $75 and $200. Cost Helper readers explain that they pay $80 to $175 or about $ 127 in the case of routine cleaning.

Before and after Results

Scaling Root Planing before and after
Picture #1


Periodontal Scaling and Root Planning before and after results
Picture #2


deep cleaning teeth before and after pictures
Picture #3

Sources and References



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