Many people would wonder the reason behind why they cannot have regular cleaning. This a common question for some, yet the answer to this is a little complicated than most of you expected.
Well, in many cases, the question comes down to cost. Usually, regular cleaning are covered at 100 percent by dental insurance while the periodontal maintenance appointments are covered at lesser amount and can be expensive from the beginning. From your perspective, this may appear like each procedure is identical and confusing. There is actually a little difference between such procedures.
ADA or American Dental Association is basically the organization that sets the billing codes for dentistry describes that regular cleaning as a dental prophylaxis that’s performed on permanent or transitional dentition, which includes polishing and scaling procedures to get rid of calculus, stains, and coronal plaque. In other words, it’s a cleaning that eliminates plaque, stains, and tartar.
On the other hand, periodontal maintenance is described as the procedure for patients who have done periodontal treatment and includes removal of bacterial flora from the pocket and crevicular areas, polishing and scaling of the teeth, a review of the plaque control efficiency of the patient, and periodontal evaluation. Usually, an interval of 3 months between the appointments results in a good treatment schedule, yet this may differ depending on the clinical judgment of the procedure should be considered. In short, this is a cleaning that gets rid of plaque, stain, and tartar. Other than that, your hygienist will check the pocket depths around the teeth and would spend more time educating you when it comes to oral hygiene. Eliminating tartar above your gumline is easy process. Getting rid of it below the gumline might take more time and skill. It’s mainly for this one reason that periodontal maintenance can cost more than the regular cleaning.
When Periodontal Maintenance and Regular Cleaning Should Be Used?
Regular cleaning must be reserved for those who have no signs of gum disease and have healthy mouth. Typically, this means going for your regular six month checkups as well as has mild buildup above the gumline without some signs of a gum disease. On contrary, periodontal maintenance appointment is for those who had gum disease treatment in the past. You cannot go back to regular cleaning until you have demonstrate over the course of some appointments that there’s no gum disease sign.
Most dental offices would alternate periodontal maintenance and regular cleaning on 3-month intervals. Many people ask their dentist to do it for the reason that other dentists do. However, it is actually considered illegal. Some dentists would call first some dental insurance companies to clarify whether it’s okay or not. Each insurance company will tell you that somebody who’s a patient of periodontal maintenance should stay with periodontal maintenance until their gum’s health is already proven. You cannot alternate them. Alternating this two is basically considered fraud and your hired dentist might get into some troubles.