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rojo's avatar

Is anyone here familiar with dental hygiene on a professional level?

Asked by rojo (14606 points ) March 14th, 2012

Details: I went in for a routine cleaning when I got the bill it was called a debridedment and therefore not covered by insurance. They did nothing different than they have always done so I looked it up to find out what it was they were saying had been done. Supposedly it is much more thorough, more intrusive and therefore more time consuming while in reality it took less time than usual and there was less bleeding. Seems like every time I go in I have a different Hygienist so there is no consistancy in treatment.
What I would like to know is if there is a very specific, detailed and objective definition of the difference between a cleaning and a debridement or is it subjective?
One other note, they did not set me up for another visit other than a regular cleaning at 3 months instead of the regular 6 months.

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11 Answers

Coloma's avatar

Debridement is a deep cleaning, used to help counter gum disease and for those teeth that have deep “pockets” that normal brushing and flossing do not reach to remove plaque below the gum line. If they scheduled you for a 3 month follow up this means that you do have some teeth in question that need more specialized attention due to advancing gum disease and/or a need for repeated below the gum line scaling procedures.

If you want to avoid things getting worse than you might want to ramp up your flossing and get a water pic to aide your oral health regime.

wundayatta's avatar

When I got to my current dentist, they did a debridement, I think. It involved using an ultrasound instrument and it is used when you need to get off really hard, caked-on plaque that goes below the gum line. Since then, they see me every four months because the plaque cakes on my teeth so fast that doing it at six months is not enough.

As to insurance—that depends on the plan. Your plan may not cover debridement. In that case, you are SOL.

Edit—to echo what @Coloma says, use the waterpik every day—it helps a lot. Also use an electric toothbrush with a timer to make sure you brush for two minutes each time. And flossing helps, although I think the waterpik is better than flossing. But doing both can only help.

YARNLADY's avatar

You should be questioning this bill. When my hygenist does a debridement, she uses a local anesthetic and only does one half of my mouth at a time, because it is such a painful and thorough procedure, it takes two visits.

rojo's avatar

@YARNLADY is that just for the debridement? I have read that “usually” it is a two stage process, first the debridement, then another visit is a couple of weeks for a cleaning and a dental exam?
I thought the deep cleaning was the multiple visit one working on different quadrants of the mouth?

YARNLADY's avatar

I am being treated for gum disease. I believe deep cleaning and debridement are the same thing. In addition to two visits for the treatment, I also went in for a follow up cleaning.

wundayatta's avatar

I think the number of visits depends on the difficulty of the case. I think I needed anesthetic when I first had it, but they may have done it all at once. It may have been my choice. Don’t remember now.

philosopher's avatar

@rojo @Coloma
Coloma is correct the Waterpik can help you. I use Glide Floss and Glide picks
They will recommend getting a cleaning every three months if, your gums are in poor condition. Insurance usually pays for a cleaning every six months.
The Dentist should have checked with your insurance if, they did not know a procedure was fully covered. You should have been informed that you might be responsible for payment.

dabbler's avatar

@philosopher This sure seems like a reasonable thing to expect. “The Dentist should have checked with your insurance if, they did not know a procedure was fully covered. You should have been informed that you might be responsible for payment.”
But it’s certainly worth asking next time, and about the alternatives, and about payment plans with the dentist.

philosopher's avatar

@dabbler
If it were me I would refuse to pay.
I took a course in dental after college.
I made more money working in Manhattan but I know much about Dental.
I walk in act nice and tell them what I expect. They do the right thing because they know I am aware.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I would call them on it @rojo.

Possibly they made a mistake on your bill.

If they claim they didn’t make a mistake, write a letter and send it certified. State the amount of time your appointment took, and how it seemed no different tthan a regular cleaning. State that from now on, you want to know if the service they’ll be providing is covered by your insurance or not prior to them doing it.

philosopher's avatar

@SpatzieLover
That is a good idea but I do not think rojo should pay the full cost. Since she was not informed before the cleaning.

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