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How often do I need to get my teeth cleaned?

By Tatyana Nudel | May 4, 2015

Q: How often do I need to get my teeth cleaned?

A: How often do you get your car washed or detailed? The answer depends on how you maintain it Regardless, shouldnt your mouth get more attention?!

Tartar and plaque form in the mouth at different rates. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a patient for a recall cleaning visit only to see them two weeks later for a scheduled filling and already see tartar forming on the teeth. I also have some patients that are able to maintain their mouth tartar free for months.Home care is vital in determining this rate of buildup of the product that is partially responsible for gum disease. Good brushers and flossers (determined by the frequency and quality of doing so) of course will fare better and last longer before needing another cleaning. It is extremely important to remember that gum disease is 100% preventable, but once seen in the mouth it is not 100% curable, and is less than 100% arrestable. So patients need to be armed with methods that properly address this degree of infection.

And the plot thickens: The insurance companies prefer to reduce the utilization of the plan, which in turn increases profits. Preventing the disease is the better model medically and financially. However, the insurance is willing to wait for the disease to appear.

How much more can I stress the importance of treating — no — preventing gum disease? If I were sitting at a table with Obama, the federal health commissioner and the health insurance commissioner, I’d point out that pregnant women who have periodontal disease may be seven times more likely to have a baby that is born too early and too small. I’d then hand them a pencil and paper and have them calculate the cost of supporting preemies in this country (26 Billion dollars per year).

In concusion, I urge you to please rethink the way you look at check up and cleaning visits, because they will make you healthier. Just to give you financial analysis of gum treatments as disease worsens:


  • Cleaning/periodontal maintenance, 45 min: $0-110
  • Deep cleaning full mouth, 2 hours: $895-1600
  • Laser Gum treatments, 2 hours: $1200-2000
  • Traditional Surgery, 4 hours: $4800


I hope that this message drives home importance of prevention. We pride ourselves on offering best possible care for our patients, including educating them about oral systemic connection.

How long has it been since your last cleaning and check up? How about the rest of your family?

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