It’s Time For Your Deep Cleaning?!? Have No Fear – Here’s What To Expect


You have been told that you need a deep cleaning and the day of your appointment has come. Perhaps you do not remember the explanation of how the process would go and it is making you nervous. Read on to learn about what happens at a deep cleaning appointment and what to do afterward to prevent needing another deep cleaning in the future.

First of all! The question you may be asking yourself, and probably the most important question… WILL IT HURT??

The short answer is – NO. 

During your deep cleaning appointment, you will be anesthetized, or numbed, in the area that we will work on that day. We first use a topical gel that slightly numbs the area where the injection sites will be. This topical gel takes away that initial pinch of the injection and makes it more tolerable for you. We then use local anesthesia to numb the area we’ll work on that day. This anesthetic only numbs a specific area in your mouth, so you will be completely awake the whole time. Because you will not be sedated, you’ll be able to drive yourself to the appointment and back home. 

How many appointments will I have and how long will they be?

Deep cleaning appointments are divided into 2 sessions. We do this for a few reasons. As mentioned above, we will numb the area being worked on that day, therefore, we choose one side to work on at each session (the right side or left side). This is to ensure that you are not uncomfortable having your complete mouth numb at once which reduces your chance of biting your lip, cheek, or tongue. Each appointment is scheduled for an hour and a half. 

So what is the step-by-step process?

We start by asking if there are any changes in your health. At this time we answer any questions or address any concerns you may have. Once you are ready to proceed we take your blood pressure, and as long as your blood pressure is within normal limits, you are ready to be anesthetized! 

This is the step where we place the topical gel and then use a few injections to completely numb the side we choose to work on that day, or if this is your second deep cleaning appointment then the side that is remaining to complete. 

Once you are feeling numb, we start by using a water instrument

This instrument uses a combination of vibrations and a water stream that work to loosen and break up calculus buildup and bacteria that exist under the gums. 

We then proceed to use our hand instruments to check for any remaining buildup that was missed by the water instrument. Our hand instruments also allow us to smooth your teeth’s root surfaces at this point.

As we near the end of your appointment, we use dental floss for a couple of reasons; 

  • 1) To remove any buildup that may be trapped in between your teeth or under the gums and 
  • 2) To check that the side surfaces of your teeth or roots, depending on how deep the bone loss is, are smooth! 

Finally, we then take X-rays of the area we worked on to confirm that all of the calculus buildup has been removed. If any remains, we go back to that spot, use one of the techniques described above, and ensure that all buildup is removed. 

What to expect after your appointment

We recommend that you wait until the numbing wears off to eat so that you avoid biting your lip, cheek, or tongue. Expect some bleeding of your gums for the rest of that day, as this is normal. Your gums just went through treatment, but this bleeding should be minimal and stop by the end of the day. Warm salt water rinses are recommended each morning and nighttime for the next couple of days to help with the healing of your gums. 

How can I prevent myself from needing this again?

This is a great question! 

After your deep cleaning, we have you come back every 3 to 4 months for what is called “perio maintenance cleanings”. Coming in at this shorter interval allows us to see if your gums and overall periodontal health is responding well to the treatment and improving. If change is needed, it helps us provide you with more personalized recommendations specific to your individual needs. This will ultimately best help improve your gum tissue health.

However, the most important factor in achieving the best results and not needing a deep cleaning again is home care! 

We recommend you brush every morning and night for 2 minutes each. Flossing, believe it or not, will be your best friend here. We recommend you floss once a day, but you can floss more than once if need be. Flossing helps prevent bacteria and hard buildup from accumulating in between your teeth and under the gums again. 

Use of oral rinse daily is also recommended for the antimicrobial factor it provides. Once we see that your oral health is improved and stabilized we will switch you back to the regular interval of cleanings every 6 months. 

We are always here to help answer any questions or calm any of your fears and we strive to make the deep cleaning appointments as comfortable as possible!

We want you to be happy that you are taking this step to improve your oral health which will help you achieve a healthier smile! 😀

Article & Image By Karla Plascencia Rodriguez, RDH