Why do my hygienist and dentist advise me to have my teeth cleaned more than the twice a year my insurance covers?
More frequent dental cleanings are recommended when your hygienist can see that you have inflammation, bone loss, or an increased amount of plaque and tartar buildup. We understand that many of the bacteria in your mouth can be detrimental to your tissues and teeth if not kept at bay. The basic answer is that the frequency recommended depends on the health of your gums and how committed you are to your oral hygiene program.
If you follow a sound oral hygiene program and have healthy gums a dental cleaning and check up every 6 months should suffice. Because gum disease is so prevalent it is very common for us to see a patient every 3 or 4 months instead of the standard insurance recommended twice a year. In order to help our patients make this financially possible we still only do two Dr. exams per year. These are very important as your DDS not only checks for tooth and gum issues but also does an oral cancer screening.
Sometimes a patient who is very diligent with their oral hygiene and dental maintenance appointments still struggles with keeping gum disease and decay at bay. These patients typically have a family history of gum disease/periodontal disease and find it very important to have frequent visits to their hygienist.
Each individual has different needs. There is a big difference between you and the person who is unwilling to commit to home care. Once the gums have healed and we have determined that you are able to keep your gums healthy, we can often times “graduate” you to a less frequent maintenance schedule.
In summary, there are many factors that determine how often you should have your teeth cleaned. As long as long as you have gum disease, there is no doubt that the hygienist is the one best suited to determine how often you should be seen. She knows how to evaluate the health of your gums and after a few appointments can determine how committed you are to taking care of your oral health.
We understand that there are times when one can’t commit to more frequent visits. We are only here to give you the best advice we have to offer and will do our best to support you in keeping all of your teeth for life!