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Old 01-16-2005, 07:16 PM   #1
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Scaling and Planning - Help, is it necessary?

Hi...

As my last thread noted, I've been having a few problems with my current dental work... I got back tomorrow A.M. and will be bugged again about saying yes or no to a question...

That ques is regarding a new gum procedure called scaling and planning (sp) that supposedly helps treat gingivitis (allows the gum pocket to shrink back to normal) that was recommended to me.

My dentist said that my insurance may not cover it (that means it's not necessary, no??) ((I discussed this with my mom and she said it's a new, not so important thing, more like ultra preventative and something the dentist can make more money on)) so it'll be pretty pricey.
He mentions it every appt - that I will be hearing from my ins. but regardless of their answer, it's crucial I get it done, etc, etc. I don't know if I'm getting pushed into something I don't really need.
As I just read on this board - you shouldn't get any work done that isn't absolutely necessary. Well, is it? Does anyone know? Anyone have it done? It is a new thing, yes? Not something so "crucial"?? Don't millions of ppl live their lives with gingivitis just fine?
Everyone I've spoken to about his has never heard of it before, therefore, comes to the conclusion that it's just something new and fancy that isn't really "normal" practice.

Please help!

 
Old 01-16-2005, 08:54 PM   #2
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Re: Scaling and Planning - Help, is it necessary?

Scaling and root planing is not a "new" procedure. Dentists and hygienists have been doing this for decades. It is important to have it done if you have a build-up of hard calculus under your gums. You cannot brush this substance away and it needs to be removed professionally. If left untreated, you could develop periodontal disease leading to eventual loosening of your teeth and tooth loss. Most insurance does cover this procedure. Ask your dentist to show you exactly what his concern is with the condition of your gums.

 
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Old 01-17-2005, 03:08 AM   #3
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Re: Scaling and Planning - Help, is it necessary?

I agree. Of course it's a needed thing....if you really need it. Get a 2nd opinion if you don't trust what your dentist is saying because yes...a lot of dentist do tell you you need it when you really don't. How long has it been since you've seen a dentist? Do your gums bleed? If you do need a deep cleaning and you don't have it done, it will only get worse. It can affect your health, not only your teeth and gums.

I have had it done. They numb you up so you don't feel a thing. It is a little sore afterwards and yes, it is very expensive without insurance. About $700 for the whole mouth.

 
Old 01-17-2005, 04:27 AM   #4
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Re: Scaling and Planning - Help, is it necessary?

If your dentist says you need it done then you prob. do need it. Like the last post asked, how long has it been since you've had a cleaning? Has it been 2 yrs or more? does your gums bleed and you have bad breath? Is your gum puffy and bleeds when you brush? Do you have tarter build up under the gumline? If you answer yes to these questions then yes you need the procedure. Ask the dentist what is your pocket measurements the next time you go see him. If they are 4mm or deeper then yes you need it! Most insurance do cover a certain % of this root planing if you have decent insurance. It's not a new procedure, it has been around for a very long time. If left untreated it will only get worst.

 
Old 01-19-2005, 01:06 AM   #5
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Re: Scaling and Planning - Help, is it necessary?

bump for susan gene.

 
Old 03-16-2005, 09:44 PM   #6
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Re: Scaling and Planning - Help, is it necessary?

Thank you very much for the replies.

I had no idea it as such a known, needed procedure. Two appts ago my dentist mentioned it again, and repeated himself saying that insurances don't usually cover it but I should do it anyway (haven't gotten reply yet from claim) for preventative reasons and that it's not necessary but becoming more popular and recommended. He said it's a new thing that dentists are practicing. If it's been around for decades, I wonder why the heck he'd say that? Maybe he's referring to a new WAY of doing it? Any ideas?

Your replies have made me think differently about it. If it really does help and PREVENT future problems, as long as my insurance will help pay for it, maybe I will get it done.

I'm just so tired of all this dental work, something that isn't needed, I don't really want to do - I want this all to be over!

I have been getting treatment for the last 4 months (they take so long, draw the appts out). This is the second time in my life I've been to a dentist (fear, jaw problens, lack of insurance) and I'm 22 years old.

I had several shallow cavities lasered and partical sprayed out then filled with teeth-colored enamel stuff. I had only one tooth that was bad, had to have root canal (I've got a temp on now, go back 22nd). I was DX'd with gingivitis because of that pic test (some pockets were 4 and 5). There isn't any discoloration or smell or sorness - I do have blood when flossing, sensitivity around the gum line and in my teeth when I eat hot/cold and chew on something hard.

With that said, should I get this done?

Thanks again

 
Old 03-17-2005, 09:46 PM   #7
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Re: Scaling and Planning - Help, is it necessary?

I am just reading this thread today for the first time. It just so happens, a few days ago I got a copy of a lengthy letter that my dentist wrote to the insurance company on our behalf. My husband had cleaning and scaling of his whole mouth but they accepted 3 quads and refused to pay for the 4th quad as the pockets there were not more than 4mm.even though the rest of the mouth qualified. Sounds to me like that is they're cutoff point. I have Delta which is one of the largest dental insurance companies.
Perhaps what your dentist is saying is not that the procedure itself is new but doing the procedure for prevention before it is actually needed is new. If that is the case, I can understand why the insurance company would not pay for it. I have not heard of dentists doing this procedure purely to prevent further problems. But if your pockets are 5mm already and you have other signs of gum problems, that sounds to me like you do need it and your insurance would pay for at least a percent of the work. You can contact your insurance company directly and ask them whether you are covered. If you really do have 5 mm pockets you need to get it taken care of before it gets worse. Eventually you will start to get bone loss and other irreversable damage.

 
Old 03-18-2005, 02:12 PM   #8
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Re: Scaling and Planning - Help, is it necessary?

Thanks for your help. I have Aetna Dental PPO - don't know if that is good or bad. They have been paying 80% of my work except for the root canal they are only covering 50%, so it's costing me a pretty penny.

Even with the dental insurance, I've paid over 1,000.00 already. I really don't know why it must cost me so much even with insurance, doesn't make much sense to me. I shudder to think what the total cost would be if I had no insurance!

I suppose I should give them a call myself. Maybe my dentist can write them a letter like they did for your husband (good luck with that).

Yes, he did emphasize that it would be preventive care; a good idea to stop the gingivitis in it's tracks and possibly fully reverse it. He said it isn't a necessary thing for me at this time, but "highly recommends" I do it. If I recall correctly, I have only 2 pockets that are 5mm. The rest are 3 and 4 with only a couple being 2.

Gosh, the idea of having at least four more visits for the gum stuff makes me cringe. I know I should keep in mind that all this work and time and money will help me for the rest of my life, and I'll be very happy I went through it all now before it got really worse.

 
Old 03-18-2005, 09:45 PM   #9
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Re: Scaling and Planning - Help, is it necessary?

Some dentists do half your mouth at once. Before Delta I had Aetna and liked it a lot more but my job switched plans so i had no choice. If you already have a disease process going on under your gums, it would not be considered preventative so check with the plan about what they will cover. It is still early in the year but if you really do not have qualifying "deep pockets" you might do the worst this year and then do the other next year when you have a new insurance limit. I have found out the hard way that dental insurance is not insurance at all. For a monthly cost of 1/2 of what i pay for medical insurance I am covered for $2000. My medical insurance has no limit of what they will cover. So for 2x the monthly amount of what i pay for dental, this year they have already covered 10's of thousands for my family who had 2 surgeries this year and various visits and tests. That is truly insurance.

 
Old 03-22-2005, 07:03 PM   #10
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Re: Scaling and Planning - Help, is it necessary?

Today as I had my crown or cap or whatever they call it done, they told me to make the appt for this deep gum cleaning. I told them I need a break, that I'll call them.

The office manager told me that it's covered 80%, I thought that was good news, they do one "quadrant" at a time, which means 4 visits total. But though it's covered 80%, it will cost me over 200.00 per visit.

She also said that I'm almost at my coverage limit already for the year, so that the last quad or two may not even be covered at all.

I'm so frustrated. You're right, it seems dental insurance is no insurance. Wow, what a difference between your dental and medical!

Another money thing, they want me to go back every 3 months for a cleaning, instead of the usual twice a year, since I haven't been to the dentist in so long, and to keep my gingivitis at bay. Well, of course my insurance only covers 2 visits a year, so the other 2 will be my responsibility.

Ah, I'm frustrated. And my crown or whatever it is is feeling really weird and sore - think I'll post about that, 'cos it's making me very nervous.

Thanks for your help, lateeth.

 
Old 03-23-2005, 11:38 AM   #11
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Re: Scaling and Planning - Help, is it necessary?

Deep gum cleaning should not be that expensive. Maybe the $200 was your total for all 4 quads. At 20% that would mean you were paying $1000 per quad. Surgery costs that much but deep cleaning is somewhere from $125-300 or so depending on how expensive your neighborhood is. As for the crown, it might be a bit high. Just a tiny little bit off would make it hurt and sore and feel like it is 1000% too big. Go back and have them check the allignment.
Good luck. You should try to see if you can get a schedule of payments from your insurance company. If you do need to pay some yourself, it will be at the discounted insurance rate, and not at the higher retail rate they charge all the poor(as in unfortunate) people with no insurance.

 
Old 03-25-2005, 12:51 PM   #12
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Re: Scaling and Planning - Help, is it necessary?

I agree that it shouldn't cost you $200 per quadrant, that's crazy. That's about what it would cost without any insurance at all. As far as if it's needed, if you have 4-5mm pockets with bleeding, as someone said earlier, this procedure isn't considered preventive anymore. There is already disease present and this is the treatment for it. 5mm pockets have already passed the stage of gingivitis, which is just swelling and bleeding. And patients that undergo scaling and root planing generally come back every 3 months for cleanings, they're called perio maintenance and unfortunately, most insurances don't cover cleanings 4 times a year. I know it's expensive, but when you think about it, your gums and bone are what support your teeth. You can have all the fillings, root canals, and crowns you need, but if the foundation is unhealthy and untreated, you'll lose your teeth anyway. I think you should go ahead with the treatment, and then stay extra diligent on your homecare (floss floss floss) if you can't return every 3 months. That's what's going to make the biggest difference in the end.

 
Old 03-25-2005, 07:41 PM   #13
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Re: Scaling and Planning - Help, is it necessary?

Scaling and planning shouldn't be costing that much. I paid $125.. Since you mentioned he uses a laser (modern) technique for filling cavities, which most don't use, he is prolly more expensive than the average dentists......
I really noticed a big difference. I was just like you, undecided and sort of another gimmick to waste money. But they deep cleaned my crown where food was getting trapped and apply a liquid antibiotic on the gum. That felt good.....Also i stopped using alcohol mouthwash, because it will irritate my gums further.....

 
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