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Another dental question -- how to know if a "deep cleaning" is necessary?

AmesieAmesie Posts: 808Registered User Member
edited June 2013 in Parent Cafe
Went to a new dentist today. I had been seeing my old one for about 5 years and he was okay, but I wasn't thrilled with a few things and a co-worker raved about her dentist, so I went. He recommended a "deep cleaning," which will take two office visits and lots of novocaine. He wanted to use lasers but said the more traditional scraping method would work too. He talked about cleaning out what flossing couldn't. Now, I am not a perfect flosser but I do floss pretty regularly. My fear is that this is an unnecessary procedure--my old dentist never said anything about deep cleaning. But perhaps he should have . . . Anyone with some wisdom?
Post edited by Amesie on
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Replies to: Another dental question -- how to know if a "deep cleaning" is necessary?

  • Christian2Christian2 Posts: 844Registered User Member
    I am concern that the dental profession might lead us to some unforseen consequence with all these grand procedures. Anything that is not normal to ones body, I believe "deep cleaning" might qualify, could possibly do more harm than good. It is also a very expensive procedure. My dentist suggested that to me but I refuse to do it.
  • HisGraceFillsMeHisGraceFillsMe Posts: 4,699Registered User Senior Member
    Ask him if using a water pick would work. A couple of years ago my dentist did this for me...it's basically like a pressure washer for your teeth. Got everything out, no deep cleaning (or extra charge, other than another co-pay), or Novocaine required.
  • CBBBlinkerCBBBlinker Posts: 2,647Registered User Senior Member
    Have never heard of a "deep cleaning" for teeth. I consider our dentist (located in NYC metro area) to be on top of the latest procedures, etc. He both teaches and takes classes regularly at one of the dental schools in the city. I would certainly want more info, too.
  • minoadocminoadoc Posts: 23Registered User New Member
    Used to be called scaling and curettage, done at periodontists office, usually by their hygienest, no reason can't be performed in general dentists office. An attempt to remove calculus (tartar) that collects beneath gumline that can't be removed by conventional "cleanings". An attempt to prevent bone loss. The dentist should be able to show you the calculus on a x-ray if it is severe enough, as well as signs of bone loss. Procedure is not unreasonable, every patient will have different priorities
  • fendergirlfendergirl Posts: 4,647Registered User Senior Member
    A lot of people get deep cleanings actually. AKA Periodontal cleanings. Shouldn't hurt anything however they are more expensive. Since it's taking two visits more then likely they are suggesting what's called Scaling and Root Planing. Google it. It's a deep periodontal cleaning beneath your gums where flossing doesn't reach. Do you have dental insurance? if so, it probably covers periodontal work.... definitely something to check into. It's not cheap.
  • jshainjshain Posts: 3,985Registered User Senior Member
    I floss DAILY and a "deep cleaning" was also recommended by my former dentist, so I had it done. He basically just used a power scaler on the end of his regular tool. When I changed dentists because I thought he was looking for ways to add to my dental charges, my new dentist (who also does her own hygiene/cleanings), used the exact same power scaler as the previous dentist. These twice per year cleanings are just considered regular/routine visits and are covered under my dental plan. I would always ask any new dentist if they power scale your teeth when cleaning them. It does a much more thorough job, imo. Kind of analogous to using an electric toothbrush versus manual brushing. In other words, I wouldn't pay extra for this procedure. If your gums aren't recessed and they don't bleed when you floss, your teeth are probably in pretty good shape.
  • BCEagle91BCEagle91 Posts: 22,762Registered User Senior Member
    My dentist recommends it if I haven't been there for a while. It gets rid of stuff under the gumline that you can't get with brushing and flossing. I've had it done a few times without painkillers - it can hurt moderately but you can feel the difference in clean when you're done.
  • SWTCATSWTCAT Posts: 855Registered User Member
    Minoadoc was very thorough regarding the procedure.

    Deep Cleanings are usually necessary if there is a sign of early periodontitis (gum disease). This can be determined by x-rays which will show calculus below the gumline as well as bone loss. The standard of care is to do a deep cleaning if there are probing depths of 4 or greater. Ask your dentist what her/she is basing your need for a deep cleaning on...xrays, probing depths, or generalized gigivitis. Many times gum disease can be caught early and managed with deep cleaning. If the periodontitis (gum disease) is more advanced (probing depths of 6 or more), surgical intervention is sometimes indicated.
  • mimk6mimk6 Posts: 4,110Registered User Senior Member
    A dear friend had a deep cleaning. She'd never had a sick day in her life. Then she got what seemed like the flu. Very long story shortened, she had an infection from the cleaning and they could identify it as such because the bacteria in her blood was oral and they were certain of the cause. The infection went to her heart and she was critically ill and had to have her aortic valve replaced. They no longer give antibiotics as a precaution the way they used to after such procedures.
  • jmmomjmmom Posts: 9,081Registered User Senior Member
    I appreciate this thread. I had been told by my dentist (1) that deep cleaning was a periodontal procedure indicated if there are signs of early periodontal disease; but told by others that (2) deep cleaning (laser) should be done routinely and is preferable because it is "more thorough".

    It sounds like the experts weighing in here are saying the former. We don't have dental insurance; don't have signs of periodontal disease. So.. don't want to do what is expensive and not indicated. But we don't want to fail to do sensible preventive care.

    Am I understanding you experts correctly? Not necessary unless indicated by signs of periodontal disease?
  • NYMomof2NYMomof2 Posts: 5,350Registered User Senior Member
    I have a very good and thorough dentist, and he has never suggested anything beyond normal, twice-a-year cleaning by a hygienist, using normal picks. But my daily care is excellent, I never have any bleeding, and the gum depths are minimal (this is not measured very often). If this has been suggested, I would ask for the justification. The story about the infection is frightening.
  • drtholtdrtholt Posts: 1Registered User New Member
    I am a general dentist. I got directed to this thread while researching a concern for a patient, and thought I should chime in with a professional opinion. Periodontal Disease is an actual disease of the gums and bones. It is caused by the body's inflammatory response to calculus (tarter) and plaque (bacteria). Eventually, so much inflammation occurs that the bone which holds in the teeth is resorbed (removed) by the body. This can eventually lead to loose teeth, abscesses, and tooth loss. Periodontal Disease is diagnosed using periodontal probe depths (gum measurements) and x-rays along with a clinical evaluation. It is treated with "Deep Cleanings" and ongoing "supportive periodontal cleanings" which are different than "regular" cleanings, (because "regular" cleanings are PREVENTIVE and periodontal cleanings are THERAPEUTIC). Smoking, diabetes, and inconsistent oral hygiene are major contributors to Periodontal Disease. Most healthy, non-smokers who go to their dentists regularly will never have heard about "Deep Cleanings". When a dentist or periodontist performs a periodontal exam they will determine if your probe depths and x-rays support a diagnosis of Periodontal Disease. You either have it or you don't. If you have it, you need "deep cleanings" to treat it. There is nothing that can be done at home to PREDICTABLY treat it (although everyone knows someone who did something that worked for them.) If your dentist tells you that you have periodontal disease, and they can show you the diagnostic factors that support the diagnosis, and they make a recommendation for treatment, then if you trust your dentist, accept the treatment. If you aren't comfortable with the diagnosis ask them to better explain it. If you still aren't convinced, simply ask for a second opinion from a specialist (you don't necessarily have to switch dentists). I hope this helps. Feel free to email me.
  • limabeanslimabeans Posts: 4,743Registered User Senior Member
    I have had these deep cleanings via my periodontist. I started with him about 10 years ago because I had a back tooth that had completely disintegrated from its roots, plus I'm diabetic. Now, I see him every 6 months, but those visits are also in addition to 2x a year with my regular dentist.

    Nowadays, I'm really appalled by how much they charge for this procedure which always includes regular measurements. Even with dental insurance, I'm out of pocket about $350 each visit. It erks me that I have these cleanings done now, because my teeth are quite stable and I regularly floss and I always wonder if I should stop. Maybe it's because I walk past his BMW in the parking lot, just outside his office.
  • rodneyrodney Posts: 9,406Registered User Senior Member
    ^^ before you get really "irked" find out how much he pays for malpractice insurance/rent/staff etc......we know people who work in fast food who drive BMW's these days, so don't use that as a criteria for annoyance.....

    Now, if he takes ALOT of vacations every year and is never in the office, that's a different story altogether....

    sounds like the problem is your dental insurance not the periodontist; he is trying to save your teeth, not destroy them......
  • greyhairedgreyhaired Posts: 72Registered User Junior Member
    Thanks drtholt, I had never heard of the deep cleaning and you have inspired me to continue keep up my routine!
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