Can’t I get a regular teeth cleaning instead of a deep cleaning?

Many times in our dental office I have been asked by patients if instead of doing a deep cleaning I could just do a simple cleaning.    I have been asked if a patient could sign a waiver stating they will not hot hold the office responsible if we do a simple cleaning instead of deep cleaning, when we recommended a deep cleaning.   The answer is always, NO.

There is a basic difference between a simple cleaning (prophy) and deep cleaning (scaling and root planning).  A prophy is done when the patient has healthy gums or with individuals who have small amounts of plaque above the gums.   Scaling and root planning is done when there is plaque (bacteria and their waste products) and tarter (bacteria that hardened with the minerals within you saliva) deep within your gums.

By definition, where there is bacteria, there is infection.   In other words, your bacteria would be a bacterial factory creating puss within your gums.   These bacteria can leak into your blood stream and attach themselves to blood vessels which could later lead to many health issues such as stroke and heart attack.    In addition, your body will see the plaque and tarter as a foreign material.   Your body will wage a war on these foreign materials.  Unfortunately, this is friendly fire.   Many bone cells will die, and if it goes on long enough, your bone around your teeth will slowly dissolve away leading to loss of the tooth.

Therefore, by doing a simple cleaning we would not be addressing all the above issues.    Doing a simple cleaning would be like placing a bandage over a broken bone.   It would have zero effect.   As a matter of fact, the dental licensing board could suspend a dentist’s license for doing so.   The insurance company would consider it fraud.   So, can I do a simple cleaning where a deep cleaning is recommended?  NO.