Question about Dentist and Dentist Visits

I’ll try to be brief:

From 2006 - 2012, didn’t visit a dentist at all.

Visited a dentist in 2012, maybe one cavity, everything else looked healthy - no need for deep scaling, etc. (although that’s what the dentist prior told me I needed - I was young and instead decided to just not see a dentist for 6 years, but somehow didn’t need it upon my return to a new dentist?)

Been seeing the same dentist since 2012, first every 6 months, then every 3 months for the last 1.5 years.

According to them, my gum health is bad - I’ve “needed” deep scaling twice. (In that time, I’ve also had a filling drilled out and replaced, but I assume that’s not a hygiene-related issue.)

In the last 3 years, I’ve spent more time cleaning my teeth - flossing regularly, tried electric toothbrushes, use water flosser, etc. - and, according to my dentist, it is basically making no difference.

When I ask, “What should I be doing differently?” the response is always “Just keep doing what you’re doing.”

But what I’m doing is seeing a dentist 4 times a year at least (this year, if I keep up their desired schedule, it’d be 5 times since they again recommended (and I had) deep scaling in January.)

My insurance only covers 2 appointments per year.

I may go see another dentist in lieu of my appt. this month, since I’m going to have to pay out of pocket, but don’t want the new dentist to do X-rays, etc. - I just want a cleaning and a basic second opinion about the health of my teeth and gums.

Can someone with some experience tell me if this seems reasonable, if I’m being scammed, offer me some advice, etc.?

All I know about deep scaling is that I was told by my previous dentist (twenty years ago), that I needed it. They did one quadrant of my mouth, and then my husband accepted a job half the state away and we had to move before the dentist could get to the rest of my teeth.

I started seeing a new dentist here, and I waited for him to tell me that I needed the deep scaling. But he never said a word, and I’ve gone twenty years with just regular cleaning and checkups. That dentist retired, and I’ve been seeing a new one for the last year or two. Again, not a word about deep scaling.

I don’t see how it’s physically possible how you can go six years with out seeing a dentist and NOT need a deep clean.

I’m no dentist though, so what do I know?

That said, I have read stories about dentists over selling. There are even some dentists out there that claim it’s questionable to recommend to a patient to remove wisdom teeth if they are not causing a problem.

I’d try another dentist.

I agree. Get a 2nd opinion. Tell him that you’re there for a second opinion. Not xrays. See what they say. Can’t hurt.

I went seven and was fine. When I go now the dentist tells me “you don’t really need me.” And I probably don’t. But I do like getting my teeth cleaned now and then.

I imagine there are people on the opposite end of that distribution too. The OP may be there. But it doesn’t hurt to get a second opinion. I went to a dentist once and told the office I was in between moves for a temporary job and just wanted a cleaning and exam. It wasn’t a problem.

You should be able to request a copy of the x-rays (and the rest of your file) to take to another dentist for a 2nd opinion. If your dentist is honest they will have no issue with this request.

Thanks for the opinions and anecdotes. Canceled my appt at my current dentist, made a new one with a new dentist (who had an opening tomorrow), and got a Groupon for $65 for exam + cleaning + x-rays. Thanks.

Some dentists are scam artists.

There was the one who found cavities, did half the filling (drilled, mixed the filling material) and then required payment before she would fill them. (As in, I was in the chair, mouth full of cotton, novocaine slowly wearing off, and writing a check so that they’d finish filling my teeth. No, they had no legitimate reason to believe that I wasn’t going to pay at the end of the appointment).

I went one who looked in my mouth, told me I had a ton of cavities that needed immediate attention and luckily, he worked with an agency that could offer me credit at an obscene rate so that I could get it done right then. I got a second opinion; he told me that I had two cavities. The second opinion also didn’t have credit brochures. He did have a great reputation and a lot of loyal patients.

Get a second opinion.

Yeah, the root planing and scaling can be a scam. I once went to a dentist who recommended it for a follow-up visit. After my rough cleaning (I was so sore) I was walked to the business manager’s office to discuss scheduling and payment options, which included credit, as amarinth mentions. Warning bells were going off so I politely declined and walked out of there, and found a new dentist who did not mention that procedure at all.

I did eventually have it done, many years later, after my current dentist, who I had been seeing for years, recommended it, and was able to provide me a pre-approved rate from my insurance.

Listen to the voice inside you - it’s usually correct.

I get my teeth cleaned four times a year. I pretty well abused them for most of my life and have plenty of dental work to show for it. My insurance cover two cleanings/exam per year and I pay for the other two cleanings out of my pocket. I figure is $180 per year well spent. I don’t know what deep scaling is but my hygienist uses the Cavitron thing and other scraper things (scalers?). In the last year or so I started using the electric tooth bush according to the directions (two full minutes of brushing) and the hygienist asked if i was doing something different. She said it made a noticeable difference. Next cleaning is tomorrow.

Just one suggestion. I use an electric toothbrush on the recommendation of my dentist. My wife refuses to do so. The hygienist who does both our cleanings (twice a year) says I need a lot less scaling than my wife.

Dentist here. It is very possible that you could need all that work but if you really need it and everything you are doing isn’t working seeing a specialist may be needed. I would get the second opinion first though.
It is very possible to go years and not need a deep cleaning, most people never need one. Some people produce no tarter and others produce it so fast that multiple cleanings a year may be warranted.

So what did you find out yearofglad?