Your oral health is more important than you might think; it’s actually the window to your overall health. Because of that, you need to take good care of your teeth. Otherwise, your body’s health will suffer.

Part of keeping your dental hygiene in tip-top shape is getting regular cleanings. But what’s the difference between that and periodontal maintenance?

What Is Regular Cleaning?

Regular dental cleaning is also known as prophylaxis. This is because it is preventative care. It’s recommended that you have two done every year, as it’ll help prevent more serious issues from arising.

During a regular cleaning, the dentist will first check out your mouth for any signs of things such as cavities, abscesses, or cancer signs. Once they’ve made sure everything is okay, then they turn things over to the dental hygienist.

They will then thoroughly clean your teeth. They’ll remove bacteria, plaque, and tartar through the use of specialized equipment that’ll do so without harming your teeth. If there are any light stains present, they’ll also remove them with their tools.

Once all that’s done, the dental hygienist will then polish your teeth. Not only does this get rid of anything left behind, but it’ll also give your pearly whites a nice shine.

When you go back in, the regular cleaning will remove any plaque that’s built up in between your visits.

What Is Periodontal Maintenance?

Periodontal maintenance (deep cleaning) is very similar to regular cleanings, but it does have its differences. For one, you’ll probably need these appointments more often; you’ll need to return every three or four months.

Also, regular cleanings are done as preventative care, while periodontal maintenance takes care of existing problems with your oral health.

When you go for periodontal maintenance, the hygienist will remove tartar just like with a regular cleaning. They’ll get in between your teeth and down to your gums. This is known as scaling and root planing.

In addition, they’ll examine the pockets of your gums. If they see any infection or inflammation in these pockets, then the dental hygienist will flush the area with antiseptic to help with disinfection and controlling the infection or inflammation.

Deep Cleaning vs Regular Cleaning

So, you know what regular and deep cleaning are. Now the question is: When do you go for each one?


As we mentioned above, this is preventative care. This means your teeth, gums, and bone are all in healthy condition and you don’t have any periodontal disease.

Regular cleaning is done to keep your oral health up, which is why it’s important to never skip an appointment. It’s also vital you go regularly, as irregularity can cause a buildup of bacteria, tartar, and plaque. This may result in periodontal disease rearing its ugly head.


Think of deep cleaning as the step that comes after, when regular cleaning isn’t good enough. Periodontal maintenance is only needed for people who have periodontal disease, so if your oral health is in great shape, you won’t need to get a deep cleaning.

Deep cleaning is performed to stop periodontal disease from advancing. It’s important to go to your deep cleanings; without them, the disease can run rampant and do serious damage to your gums and teeth.

In fact, it can be irreversible at a point. This means if you’re at risk of losing your teeth because of receding gums, you can’t do anything to grow back healthy tissue. Instead, you can only take action to stop your gums from receding any further.

What Is Periodontal Disease, Exactly?

It’s an infection in your gums; it’s also known as periodontitis. If you don’t do anything about it, the infection can spread. As a result, not only can it destroy the soft tissue in your mouth, but it can also lead to your teeth falling out.

Some symptoms of periodontal disease include:

• Swollen gums
• Puffy gums
• Bright red or purple gums
• Gums that bleed easily
• Gums that feel tender to the touch
• Bad breath
• Painful chewing
• Pus between your teeth and gums
• Loose teeth
• Spaces developing between your teeth
• Receding gums

Remember how we said that your oral health is a window to your overall health? Well, if you have periodontal disease, then it’s an indication that your overall health isn’t so good.

Research has shown that periodontitis is linked to things such as diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and even cancer. Scientists aren’t sure if one causes the other, but one thing’s for sure: they’re definitely linked.

You should always err on the side of caution and assume that your periodontal disease may be what could potentially cause other health issues. So make sure you keep up with periodontal maintenance for as long as your dentist recommends.

Keep Your Teeth in Good Health

After this article, you should now know the difference between regular cleaning and periodontal maintenance. Make sure you schedule regular cleanings with Palm Harbor Family Dentistry in Palm Harbor, Florida; the frequency will be determined by them at your appointment. Adhere to that schedule to ensure you’re in optimal health.

And if they suggest you have periodontal maintenance done, don’t ignore that either. This indicates that you already have some degree of periodontal disease, which is irreversible in some cases. You want to heed their advice and get prompt treatment so you can make sure you’re as healthy and pain-free as possible.

Whether you need a regular cleaning or periodontal maintenance, feel free to make an appointment with us.

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