How Many Times A Year Do You Need A Cleaning?



Let me tell you doing this blogging thing is not as easy as it looks. Today's topic is the New York Times article "Rethinking the Twice-Yearly Dentist Visit".

I am amazed at the confusion caused by the routine things in dentistry. The article (paraphrased) says that a cookie cutter approach to treating patients might not be the best way to care for a patient. The reaction to this article ranges from "wow, I knew the dentist was ripping me off" to "Isn't science great and what will they discover next".

First off, the origin of the twice a year cleaning is murky. It either come from "Amos and Andy in the middle of the last century" or a toothpaste jingle ,where you need to use this toothpaste and see your dentist twice a year. It doesn't really matter where it comes from. What matters is that a one size fits all is a terrible way to treat a patient. I don't know when it happened, the patient devolved from being an individual with needs, quirks,and desires to being a widget that is plugged into a one size fits all regimen. Then out comes amazing new information! The patient is a person!

The time between cleanings should be based on the patients needs and desires. I have some patients that I see once every three years. Why should I see them more often? They don't need to have a cleaning and are not prone to getting cavities. I am sure they have better things to do than going to the dentist. I have other patients I see every three months. Why? Because they need to.

So, is the dentist ripping you off? No, how often you get a cleaning should be decided between you and you're dentist. Wow, mind blowing. What will they think of next?


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