Deep cleanings allow dentists and hygienists to remove tarter that can accumulate under gums along the roots of teeth. Another term for this procedure is "Root Planning". Often times when a hygienist performs a cleaning tarter remains below the gums. This tarter can make it more likely for a patient to have active periodontal disease. If a dentist finds that pocketing is present(pocket depths of >than 4 mm) and he suspects the presence of subgingival tarter, he may suggest one or more deep cleaning treatments.
At these visits, local anesthesia is administrated and then very sharp currettes( periodontal 'scalers" ) are used to scrape clean tooth surface below the gums. Tarter that has been present for long periods can be extremely tenacious and can be a challenge to remove. Visualization is often not possible and tarter is detected by tactile methods and the use of radiographs. Dentists use extremely sharp currettes to both detect and remove this subgingival calculus(tarter).