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Full Mouth Debridement

Full Mouth Debridement

  • March 17, 2021

A full mouth debridement is a special kind of deep dental cleaning that could be required if a person has heavy plaque tartar build-up on his or her teeth.

Patients in need of a full debridement probably won’t have seen a dentist for a checkup or cleaning in a long time, possibly not for years.  Without regular care, it’s common for there to be a heavy buildup of plaque and tartar, which obscures the teeth structure down to and past the gum line. The obstruction would make it difficult or perhaps even impossible for a dentist to be able to provide a full exam and accurate assessment of the person’s oral health.

To clear the build-up, and recommend next steps to restoring dental health, a full mouth debridement will be the first step. 

The debridement process includes the following:


Due to the calcification present, a dentist or dental hygienist will use a combination of manual scalers and an ultrasonic device to remove the debris found above and below the gumline. The procedure is done to prevent bacteria from entering the internal structure of the tooth or remove particles that have breached it. The process will take longer with several visits if a patient has excessive buildup.


This procedure is done to remove rough areas, which bacteria like to cling. It helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Dental hygienists use a low- or high-speed device to remove any irregularities or rough areas.

Root Planing

This is done to remove plaque and tartar buildup found in periodontal pockets. These are inflamed areas where plaque and tartar have formed, causing the gums and tooth to separate. Root planing is an aggressive procedure, which is performed to debride the root area.

Please note that a thin layer of cementum is removed during this procedure. This is the layer that covers the root and should not to be confused with dentin, although they are almost the same color. It is weaker and thinner, which is why subgingival buildup should be removed right away.

Root planing is only necessary when the debris has invaded the root area. This may be done on the same day. However, in some cases, a patient is asked to come back for a second appointment.

Oral Cavity Assessment

This may be done during the first visit. However, if aggressive cleaning is necessary, a dentist would rather have the patient come back for a second appointment, as the tissues will need time to heal before a proper assessment can be done. X-rays are required to assess the health of the internal structures.

In cases where there is extensive damage, the dentist may prescribe other procedures. The patient may require dental fillings, root canal therapy, tooth extraction and other services based on the findings of the oral assessment.

Before and After full mouth debridement

Is a dental debridement painful?

Once your full mouth debridement is complete, you may feel some tenderness in your gums. This is a much more thorough cleaning than you are used to, and because of that, you may feel a little sore. The procedure itself should not be painful.

If you are feeling discomfort, either physically or from nerves, let your dentist know. Pain, or the fear of pain, should not prevent you from getting the care you need.

Who Benefits From Full-Mouth Debridement?

Scaling and polishing is done twice yearly to prevent plaque and tartar formation. When a person does not have his or her dentition cleaned bi-annually, thick deposits may begin to form. These can be yellowish-white to black.

People who do not practice proper oral hygiene, those with abnormal plaque buildup and individuals who have periodontal disease will benefit from this full-mouth cleaning.

If you have not been to the dentist for a year or more or have signs of periodontal disease, contact MY-DENTISTRY to schedule an appointment.


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