Do I really need a deep cleaning for $1200?

by EDWARD DOWNS JR
(CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO.)

DEAR DR.,--MY TEETH AND GUMS FEEL AND LOOK FINE. BUT THE DENTIST TO WHOM I'M GOING SAYS THE RIGHT TOP SECTION NEEDS DEEP CLEANING, WITH POSSIBLY THE OTHER FOUR QUADRANTS. IT WILL BE 300$ PER SECTION OR 1200$ FOR THE WHOLE SET OF TEETH. I DO THINK IT'S PROBABLY A GOOD THING TO DO, BUT COULD A SIMPLE POLISHING FOR AROUND 100$ NOT BE ENOUGH FOR NOW. I WILL SAY THAT I'VE PRIDED MYSELF ON GOOD TEETH AND BRUSH LIKE CRAZY EVERYDAY. BUT I HAVE FALLEN DOWN ON THE DENTAL CLEANSING. THANKS FOR YOUR OPINION. ELD JR.

Reply:

Hi Edward, I can't give you specific advice without knowing the condition of your teeth. However I can tell you that deep cleaning is often recommended when it is not necessary. I have seen many examples of this. Sadly some dentist and hygienists feel it is ok to shamelessly mislead their patients into thinking they need this expensive treatment when a regular cleaning would suffice.

Deep cleaning or SRP (scale and root planning) is sometimes very necessary and important to restore gums to a healthy condition. Your dentist or hygienist should be able to show you evidence of you needing a deep cleaning either on the X-rays or by showing you areas in your mouth that are red swollen and bleed easily when you brush or floss them. It should make sense to you.

I would recommend a second opinion or further explanation from your current dentist if you have any doubt.

Thanks for writing,
~Shelly




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