Dental Cleanings Versus Periodontal Cleanings

Dental Cleanings Versus Periodontal Cleanings

Posted by Stonewall Dental Associates on Sep 28 2020, 06:02 AM

When it comes to oral health, regular dental cleanings are a must. But did you know that there's more than one type of cleaning? That's right - in addition to your standard dental cleaning, there's also something called a periodontal cleaning. While the two may sound similar, they actually serve different purposes and are recommended for different patients. In this blog post, we'll explore the difference between these two types of cleanings and why it's important to get both in order to maintain optimal oral health. So let's dive in!

What is the difference between a dental cleaning and a periodontal cleaning?

Dental cleanings, also known as prophylaxis, is typically performed twice a year by a dental hygienist. During this type of cleaning, the hygienist will remove plaque and tartar buildup on your teeth using specialized tools. They'll also polish your teeth to remove surface stains and give you that fresh-from-the-dentist feeling.

On the other hand, periodontal cleanings (also called scaling and root planing) are more intensive than regular dental cleanings. This type of cleaning is often recommended for patients with gum disease or those who have not had a regular cleaning in some time. During a periodontal cleaning, the hygienist will work to remove plaque and tartar buildup both above and below the gum line. They may also smooth out rough spots on tooth roots in order to help prevent further damage.

Periodontal cleanings can be uncomfortable for some patients due to their more extensive nature, but they're an important part of treating gum disease and preventing further oral health issues down the line. If you think you might need a periodontal cleaning, talk to your dentist about whether it's right for you.

Why is it important to get both types of cleanings?

Regular dental cleanings and periodontal cleanings are both essential for maintaining optimal oral health. While a standard dental cleaning focuses on removing plaque, tartar, and surface stains from the teeth above the gum line, a periodontal cleaning targets bacteria that have accumulated below the gum line.

It's crucial to get both types of cleanings because they serve different purposes. A dental cleaning helps prevent cavities and gum disease by keeping your teeth free of debris and bacteria, while a periodontal cleaning is necessary to treat existing gum disease before it worsens.

Gum disease can cause serious problems if left untreated. It can lead to tooth decay, bad breath, bleeding gums, and even tooth loss. By getting regular check-ups with your dentist or hygienist, who will perform these two types of cleanings as needed based on their evaluation of your oral health status.

In addition to preventing serious complications like tooth loss or systemic infections caused by poor oral hygiene practices related diseases such as diabetes; proper brushing techniques at home combined with routine professional cleanings are an excellent preventative measure against gingivitis (early stage) or severe periodontitis (advanced stage).

How often should you get each type of cleaning?

Now that we know the difference between dental cleanings and periodontal cleanings, it's essential to determine how often one should get each type of cleaning.

For most people, getting a dental cleaning every six months is sufficient. However, some individuals may require more frequent or less frequent cleanings depending on their oral health status.

On the other hand, if you have been diagnosed with gum disease or have a history of it in your family, you may need to schedule periodontal cleanings more frequently. Your dentist or hygienist can recommend an appropriate interval for these cleanings based on your specific needs.

It's also important to note that skipping routine dental appointments can lead to more severe dental problems later on down the road. Regular check-ups help catch issues early and prevent them from becoming bigger and costlier concerns.

The frequency at which you should get each type of cleaning depends on various factors such as age, overall health status, and risk factors for developing gum disease. It's best to work with your dentist or hygienist to develop a personalized plan that works best for your individual needs.


Both dental cleanings and periodontal cleanings are essential for maintaining good oral health. While dental cleanings focus on preventing common oral problems such as cavities and gum disease, periodontal cleanings target more advanced gum disease issues by cleaning beneath the gum line.

It is important to schedule regular appointments with your dentist or hygienist to ensure that you receive both types of cleanings as recommended. The frequency of these appointments will vary based on individual needs and risk factors, but generally speaking, it is best to have a dental cleaning every six months and a periodontal cleaning every three to four months.

By following this routine, you can keep your teeth healthy and beautiful while reducing the risk of developing serious oral health problems in the future. Remember: prevention is key when it comes to taking care of your smile!

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