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Old 07-09-2011, 11:04 AM
 
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 14,870,398 times
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Default Is "Deep Cleaning" Worthwhile?

We have a good dentist that we like. Unfortunately, he has a hygienist who consistently slips in extra services that are not covered by our insurance. (Delta, if it matters.)

We have asked her stop this, and to mark our charts that we do not ever EVER want "services" that are not covered by our insurance. Because I am more aggressive, she seems to have gotten the message with me, but she continues to try to slis extra cleaning services on my husband (who is easier to slip things by).

Recently, she talked him into getting something called a "deep cleaning." I don't know what this is, and since I'm wary as a result of past problems, I dont know what to think

So.... has anyone heard of deep cleaning? Did you have it done and was it worthwhile? We like the dentist so we don;t really want to get our teeth cleanings done somewhere else (but I'm starting to consider the possibility).
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Old 07-09-2011, 11:45 AM
 
Location: Wallis and Futuna
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If he's got deep pockets (a sign of gingevitis, plaque buildup, calcalus buildup, gum disease, periodontal inflammation - any of those terms should cause concern for your dental health, some mean the same thing as each other), and there is evidence of inflammation, then scaling is probably a good idea. There's no real need to have it done as a preventative, though some dentists will try and "sell" it as one. It doesn't prevent periodontal disease. It removes the plaque that's there now, under the gumline. It doesn't prevent new plaque from forming.

I've had scaling, and it's definitely NOT fun. However, I had inflammation and receding gums, and it was pretty clear I needed to get the gunk out before my teeth started getting loose.

If your doctor (remember, your dentist is a doctor - if you have a good one, he won't need to be reminded of that) feels there is an immediate medical necessity for scaling/rooting (aka deep cleaning) such as evidence of damage, then it's probably a good idea to heed the advice. If he pushes it off as a preventitive, I'd politely decline. Simply having plaque buildup isn't harmful by itself. However if the plaque is pushing your gumline up and exposing the upper parts of your teeth, then it -can- cause trouble down the line.
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Old 07-12-2011, 07:46 PM
NTT
 
Location: Houston
648 posts, read 862,706 times
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As AnonChik explained, deep cleaning is normally needed if someone has gum problem. If your husband take care of his teeth, have a regular cleaning and check up every 6 months and do not have gum problem, then he doesn't need a deep cleaning.

You may want to talk to your dentist about this situation. Otherwise, just change your dentist.

Personally, I would make an appointment with the dentist to clean my teeth if I'm not pleased with the hygienist. I pay the insurance which pays the dentist, I should be able to request who cleans my teeth. It's as simple as that.
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Old 07-13-2011, 08:16 PM
 
148 posts, read 542,117 times
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Get a second opinion. If your husband truly has a gum problem then yes, he would greatly benefit from a scaling and rootplaning ("deep cleaning")
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Old 07-17-2011, 02:19 PM
 
5,367 posts, read 6,232,257 times
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If you need the service, whatever it is, then, yes, go for it.

but I ve had the same problem as the OP---that dental hygenist gal just takes off and does all sorts of stuff under the guise of "cleaning" then I'm presented with a $200-$300 bill for stuff not covered under my insurance. They respond with oh, we told you what we're doing, like that deep pocket stuff, etc, but they never give you a chance to protest. There you are, in the dental chair, for your 6-month cleaning, which you are lead to believe is 100% covered under your insurance. Then, the gal says oh, you need your "pockets cleaned" and without any more discussion starts that, like you are in any position to discuss anything then.

I had a dentist who was milking the insurance free cleaning by always adding something extra. I quit him!

Problem is, they are doing stuff before you even know or have a chance to protest. If I make an appt for a BASIC clean, that's what I'm paying for, not all the extras they can throw at me.

What gripes me, you never see the dentist until after the cleaning. Hygenist comes in, starts all that cleaning stuff, then dentist comes in at the end. Its like she's telling him what the deal is---you have this on that tooth, etc, even intreprets the x-rays for him,---she has a cavity on number 13, etc.

Last dental visit, was a new dentist, I insisted on seeing the dentist FIRST before they hygenist. If indeed I do have a need to clean the pockets, descaling, etc, let the dentist find it and justify it, that's what he's being paid for.

It was to the point I was slipping my 2x year cleaning because the "free" cleaning ended up costing me $$$ that I was unprepared to pay for. If I need services, that should be determined by the dentist, not the hygenist!

Seems the only pockets that were cleaned were mine

Another gripe of mine---I'm 57 years old---a big girl, all grown up. I really do get tired of being asked how many times a day I brush my teeth! Like some little kid! Oh, and do you floss daily? And please, I really don't need a step-by-step instruction with the set of teeth how to brush and floss.Yes, I know, brushing and flossing are important, so is daily bathing, is she going to give me instructions on that next?

At most, just a boilerplate it is important to brush and floss routinely, do be careful not to brush too hard, use a soft brush, don't overbrush or you will encourage gums to recede, etc, but please, I don't need some little gal going on for 15 min or more all about how to brush my teeth, all the while treating me like some little kid---do you brush 2x day? Oh, great, you brush 4x day, awesome! Oh, goody, do I get prize from the treasure chest when I leave for being a "good girl"? they can spend half of your visit telling a 50+ old woman how to brush her teeth, but then can't spend 5 sec discussing all the cleaning "add ons" they are doing that aren't covered by your insurance, just slip that one in.

When asked why I hadn't seen a dentist for over a year, I told them we had moved, it got away from us, but mainly I got tired of all those extra charges slippped in without prior discussion of cost, necessity, etc. That's why I insist on seeing the dentist first, then the hygenist!
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Old 07-17-2011, 02:40 PM
 
5,206 posts, read 4,932,749 times
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As I understand it, plaque build up beneath the gum line acts to trap bacteria at the base of your teeth. This plaque/bacteria build up leads to bone loss, receding/inflamed gums and loss of teeth. Regular, professional cleanings (along with daily flossing/brushing) will prevent under the gum plaque/bacteria build up. But if plaque has been allowed to build up, the bacteria will remain trapped under your gum line until the plaque is removed by your dentist/hygienist. You can't just brush it/floss it away yourself.

If your husband has skipped some cleanings, he might have some below the gum plaque build up. If so, his dentist might feel that a deep cleaning is immediately necessary to preserve the health of his gums/bone/teeth.
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Old 07-17-2011, 02:47 PM
 
5,367 posts, read 6,232,257 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by springfieldva View Post
As I understand it, plaque build up beneath the gum line acts to trap bacteria at the base of your teeth. This plaque/bacteria build up leads to bone loss, receding/inflamed gums and loss of teeth. Regular, professional cleanings (along with daily flossing/brushing) will prevent under the gum plaque/bacteria build up but you can not simply brush or floss it away yourself. The bacteria will remain trapped under your gum line until the plaque is removed by your dentist/hygienist.

If your husband has skipped some cleanings, he might have some below the gum plaque build up. If so, his dentist might feel that a deep cleaning is immediately necessary to preserve the health of his gums/bone/teeth.

They also want payment "immediately"

He's there under the impression there will be no charge for the basic cleaning today. If they expect payment, the least they could do is stop the procedure and discuss it with him, there's no such thing as an emergency dental cleaning. He will survive a few more days/weeks/another month, while he balances his checkbook, and gets another opinion. Or, was the emergency to clean out his pockets to line the dentist's? Perhaps the dentist was having an "emergency"?
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Old 07-17-2011, 03:21 PM
 
Location: Wallis and Futuna
11,294 posts, read 15,973,486 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by springfieldva View Post
As I understand it, plaque build up beneath the gum line acts to trap bacteria at the base of your teeth. This plaque/bacteria build up leads to bone loss, receding/inflamed gums and loss of teeth. Regular, professional cleanings (along with daily flossing/brushing) will prevent under the gum plaque/bacteria build up. But if plaque has been allowed to build up, the bacteria will remain trapped under your gum line until the plaque is removed by your dentist/hygienist. You can't just brush it/floss it away yourself.

If your husband has skipped some cleanings, he might have some below the gum plaque build up. If so, his dentist might feel that a deep cleaning is immediately necessary to preserve the health of his gums/bone/teeth.
That's partly a myth. Plaque builds up every 2-4 weeks. Having a cleanup once or twice a year will -not- prevent plaque buildup. It will not prevent bacteria growth. Scaling is most appropriately done to -fix- an existing problem, and -not- to prevent a future problem.

Also, the whole bacteria growth thing is ridiculous. Your mouth is the filthiest thing you are most likely to come in contact with, during the majority of your entire life. If you're not breaking out in pustules and sores on a continual basis, it's safe to say that whatever bacteria you have in there, is the bacteria that should be in there.

Bacteria *can* get trapped, which is when you get an infection. However, if you don't have infections, then whatever bacteria is there, isn't causing much harm. Bacteria is also subject to a lifespan, just like all living things. It -will- die, and remember if it's "trapped" under the gum, that means everything outside that spot, is prevented from going into that spot. So that bacteria will die off, and no new bacteria will get in, and everything's hunky dory.

UNTIL You eat popcorn, and a single kernel gets stuck between the gum and the tooth, and creates a tiny, infinitismal crevice, which opens a new door for new bacteria to get in. And two days later, your gum hurts and looks a little puffy. So you slit it open by flossing and it goes away the day after.

This is a normal cycle of the mouth. No one needs regular scaling to prevent bacterial growth, unless they are experiencing a *problem.* No problem = no need to scale. Sort of like putting a cast on your arm to prevent it from breaking. If you don't have super brittle bones that break every time you roll over in your sleep, then you don't need a cast to prevent your arm from breaking. You only need it when you actually break it.
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Old 07-17-2011, 03:22 PM
 
5,206 posts, read 4,932,749 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaryleeII View Post
They also want payment "immediately"

He's there under the impression there will be no charge for the basic cleaning today. If they expect payment, the least they could do is stop the procedure and discuss it with him, there's no such thing as an emergency dental cleaning. He will survive a few more days/weeks/another month, while he balances his checkbook, and gets another opinion. Or, was the emergency to clean out his pockets to line the dentist's? Perhaps the dentist was having an "emergency"?
Good question. I honestly don't know how deep cleanings are usually handled. If you go in for a basic cleaning and the hygenist discovers during that cleaning (but before x-rays and before you see the dentist) that you need something more intensive done, should he/she just finish the basic cleaning and then reschedule you for a deep cleaning? Or should he/she go ahead and get the heavy duty stuff done while you're there in the chair? In the long run, it would probably be more cost effective to you (the patient) to just get everything done in one visit, whenever possible.

But the bottom line is that you have to be able to trust the medical professionals at your dental office to give you quality care. If you don't feel as though you can trust them, I'd find another dentist.
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Old 07-17-2011, 03:42 PM
 
Location: zone 5
6,085 posts, read 5,062,839 times
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If I had a hygeinist who did extra work, whether necessary or not, without going over the details of it first, I wouldn't be happy, and I would probably ask the dentist if that was their policy. If I was told I had to pay for a service I didn't know I was getting immediately, I'd find another dentist. My old-school dentist, who was very good, retired a couple of years ago. I wonder if offices like that even exist any more. No TV, no fancy-schmancy stuff to help pay for, just good dentistry and no BS.
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