Dental Cleaning

Surgical Dental Cleaning

A surgical dental cleaning is a new concept to most people, leading to many questions. Of course, a standard dental cleaning is well known as a routine procedure for dental health. If you’ve been told you might need a surgical cleaning or are just curious about it, there are many details to learn.

Sometimes referred to as a deep cleaning, a surgical dental cleaning is a unique procedure that includes some elements of a standard cleaning. During a surgical cleaning, a dentist will clean bone and tissue in addition to the teeth and gums. Given the additional work involved, surgical cleanings often cost more and aren’t covered under insurance plans as a normal cleaning.

Our complete guide below walks you through the basics surgical cleaning. We will also cover how it works and when you should consider receiving one.

When is a Surgical Cleaning Recommended?

Before covering how a surgical cleaning works, it’s important to understand when it’s recommended. In general, a few scenarios can exist in which a surgical cleaning is recommended.

A surgical cleaning is recommended when:

  • Your dentist identifies that you have “deep pockets”. This description refers to areas of the gum, specifically that are more difficult to reach.
  • Abnormal gums. If your gums bleed easily, or have been swollen, red, or tender, this is often a sign of further issues that require a surgical cleaning. Another sign may be gums that are pulling away from your teeth
  • Constant bad breath or taste. This situation with no visible cause indicates an issue just below the surface that a surgical cleaning can address.

In addition to the scenarios above, a dentist may also recommend a surgical cleaning as a prior step to other procedures. Occasionally, a surgical cleaning will resolve an issue without the need for another more costly and involved procedure.

Standard Cleaning vs. Surgical Cleaning

A standard cleaning and surgical cleaning share some similarities. At the same time, a surgical cleaning adds a few things that go beyond a standard cleaning. Below, we’ll outline the similarities and differences.


In both types of cleaning, plaque and tartar are removed from the teeth and gums. Afterwards, your teeth are cleaned and polished. Finally, your teeth are flossed and a gritty toothpaste is typically applied.


The differences between the two cleanings lie in the key details below.

  1. Scaling is the process in which plaque and tartar are removed from the gum’s deep pockets. Root planning occurs when plaque and tartar are removed from the surface of the roots.
  2. While a routine cleaning can be conducted by a dental hygienist, only a licensed dentist can perform a surgical cleaning.
  3. In many cases, a surgical cleaning requires 2 appointments. One half of the mouth is cleaned during each appointment. Additionally, a surgical cleaning requires more frequent follow-up visits to ensure dental health is being maintained.

Do You Need Anesthesia for a Surgical Cleaning?

Like many dental procedures, a local anesthetic is often utilized for surgical cleanings. Based on factors such as the extent of the cleaning and a patient’s overall dental anxiety, a general anesthetic may sometimes be used.

Get a Surgical Cleaning Through VIP Dental

Going through a new dental procedure is a process often filled with fear and uncertainty. With VIP Dental, we eliminate these discomforting feelings. Our experienced and friendly staff are with you every step of the way.

Dr. Brown and the team are patient and available to answer any question you have about surgical cleaning. We ensure you’re comfortable before, during, and after the procedure.

Contact us today to schedule your surgical cleaning and improve your overall dental health.