One common misconception about dental cleanings is that they are all the same. In fact, dental cleanings can be very different for each patient. In order to maintain proper oral health, different types of dental cleanings may need to be performed. During the dental hygiene exam, a full assessment of the health of your gums is preformed, so the type of cleaning depends on this diagnosis. At our Fort Worth Texas dentistry office, we perform four types of cleanings:


This type of cleaning is the most common, and is usually performed on patients that have been maintaining a regular cleaning schedule of every 6 months, with the absence of periodontal disease, extensive staining, or accumulation of sub-gingival calculus (plaque). The hygienist cleans the superficial plaque and minimal tarter seen above the gums. Most insurance covers 100% of these cleanings.


This cleaning is usually reserved for patients that have a slight accumulation of stain or calculus that has led to inflammation of the gums. Inflammation of the gums leads to bleeding upon brushing, or from simple dental examination and probing during the dental hygiene exam. Because this requires additional work by the hygienist, most dental insurance requires copay for these cleanings. This type of cleaning is usually followed up with the 6-month recall appointment or with more in-depth cleaning depending on the condition of the gums.


This type of cleaning is performed on patients that have allowed the accumulation of calculus and bacteria lead to gingival inflammation, to the extent that it can even lead to loss of the supporting boney structure. The majority of the time, there is inflammation and a significant accumulation of calculus above and below the gums. This procedure routinely requires a patient to be anesthetized with topical anesthetic, which is usually why only half the mouth is done at each visit.

Depending on the severity of the disease, occasionally a local antibiotic is required. Patients are also instructed regarding their responsibilities at home, and are equipped with tools such as Perioscience Gel that help to promote optimal healing following the dental scaling. Prior to this procedure, patients consult with the treatment coordinator to review the procedure, the potential cost, and to answer any questions. Following the completion, a patient is placed on a 3-month recall. The purpose of the more frequent dental cleaning is due to the bone defect that is present, which makes it harder to maintain good oral health.


This type of cleaning is the routine upkeep done following deep cleanings. As explained above, because of the defects in the gums when deep cleanings are required, it’s more difficult to maintain a patient’s oral health without relapsing problems without more frequent cleanings later. The deep cleaning serves as the treatment phase on mild-to-moderate periodontal disease, and the 3-month recall is the maintenance phase of the treatment. Both stages are required to maintain periodontal health in the presence of this disease. Depending on the findings, a deep cleaning may need to be repeated every few years to potentially prevent the increase in severity of the periodontal disease present.

The types of cleanings that are recommended and performed will depend on your unique oral health, and are not depended on what insurance does or doesn’t cover.