Have you ever gone to the dentist for a regular cleaning only to be met by a much more expensive bill for a deep cleaning? While this type of cleaning may seem unnecessary, there are good reasons your dentist might recommend it over a regular dental cleaning.

What Is a Deep Cleaning?

A deep cleaning (also known as Scaling and Root Planing) is a two-part procedure that involves 1) removing plaque and tartar from the surface of the teeth and between the gums and teeth and 2) using a scaling instrument to remove plaque and tartar from the surface of the roots of the teeth. 

When Is a Deep Cleaning Needed?

It is required when a person has periodontal disease or gum disease. 

Symptoms of periodontal disease or gum disease include: 

  • Bleeding gums
  • Bad breath
  • Swollen or red gums
  • Recessed gums, which expose more of the teeth

How Does a Deep Cleaning Work?

Unlike a regular dental cleaning, this cleaning is performed by section or quadrant of the mouth: 

  • Top left
  • Top right
  • Bottom left
  • Bottom right

Because the mouth is divided into sections (or quadrants) to perform the procedure, the procedure is typically completed over a minimum of two appointments.

Once it has been performed, periodontal maintenance will often take the place of the standard teeth cleaning at future visits. Periodontal maintenance takes care of not just the surfaces of the teeth, but also for the tooth roots, gums and bone. 

How Much Does a Deep Cleaning Cost?

A deep cleaning costs between $1,200 and $1,600 for your entire mouth (all four quadrants) without dental insurance and only between $400 and $600 with a dental savings plan. 

Compare that to a regular prophylaxis cleaning where you could expect to pay between $100 and $150 without dental insurance or $30 and $50 with a dental savings plan.

Deep cleanings and regular prophylaxis cleanings are priced differently. As you consider your options, understand the costs involved with each using our cleanings pricing guide.

If you need this type of cleaning, consider getting a dental savings plan to receive a significant discount at each dental visit – whether you need this type of cleaning, follow-up periodontal maintenance or a regular cleaning.

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What Questions Should I Ask My Dentist About Deep Cleanings?

  1. How many appointments will it take?
  2. How long will my mouth be tender afterward?
  3. If you recommend regular periodontal maintenance following this treatment, how often should that procedure be performed?
  4. Is there a mouthwash you recommend to use afterward?
  5. What will happen if I don’t get one?
  6. What stage is my periodontal disease?
  7. What are the causes of periodontal disease?
  8. Can a dental hygienist perform the deep cleaning or will I need to see a specialist for the work?
  9. Are there any other questions that I don’t know to ask that I should be asking?