Customized Dental Hygiene Program in Phoenix, AZ
“My insurance covers two cleanings per year at 100%. Why can’t I just have a normal tooth cleaning today?” Many people ask this question but don’t understand the need for different types of dental cleanings. Because we are all unique, we all require a different level care.
It’s the same in dentistry. Every mouth is not the same and to perform the same type of dental cleaning for one person who has perfect oral health and the same for another who has mild-severe periodontal disease would not doing anyone justice. Some may chalk it up to genetics, environment, tooth shape and crowding but in all reality, it depends on the person.
As for our standard of care, we will perio-chart (or perio probe) when a new patient comes in for their initial consultation or an established patient comes in for their regular hygiene checkups. Perio charting helps us to better understand your oral health by measuring the depth (in mm) of the pocket of gum tissue around each tooth.
0-3 mm with NO bleeding: Signifies healthy gums and bone. Healthy gums do not bleed. A regular (superficial/above the gumline) “healthy tooth” cleaning should be sufficient.
1-3 mm with bleeding: Mild gum disease. Usually a good cleaning and improved homecare will get you “caught up” and back in shape. Depending on your level of tartar buildup, it may require a “Full Mouth Debridement” or a medicated mouthwash to help heal the gum tissues and get you back on track. A Full Mouth Debridement is a two part cleaning and is usually necessary if an individual hasn’t had their teeth cleaned in 1 year+. This is followed up with a “less than 30 day superficial cleaning and polish.”
3-5 mm: Early to moderate gum disease. This is the beginning/middle stages of periodontal disease. This may require a deeper cleaning/scaling. Your hygienist may suggest having you come in more often (3-4 month visits) to help prevent further bone loss and assist in **maintaining your periodontal disease.
5-7+ mm: Advanced periodontal disease. This may require more advanced periodontal surgery with an aggressive approach on follow up visits. A significant amount of damage has already been done so **periodontal maintenance visits will be required every 3-4 months to help prevent more bone loss.
**Periodontal Maintenance Cleaning. This is different than a regular-normal-healthy-tooth cleaning (superficial cleaning). It normally follows deep cleaning/scaling or periodontal surgery. This type of cleaning is necessary if the patient accumulates tarter and plaque above average. This is recommended for patients who have previously been diagnosed with periodontal disease, currently have periodontal disease, and/or are maintaining their periodontal disease.
So there you have it. We want to assist in helping you maintain a healthy lifestyle and taking care of your teeth. The first step is showing up. We look forward to seeing you soon and answering any further questions you may have.
Remember, healthy gums don’t bleed.