How much is a "cleaning?"

I've been networking a lot with the start of the new year and inevitably get this question at every event.  It is not a simple answer.  Prospective new patients seem to get frustrated when I don't just regurgitate a number but no two patients are the same and a "cleaning" is not just "a cleaning ."  Legally, every patient that comes through my office I need to examine.  In order to perform a dental examination as per the American Dental Association and the CDT (Code on Dental Procedures and Nomenclature) language a dental examination involves an evaluation of the hard and soft tissues of the head and neck and includes the evaluation of radiographs and periodontal charting.  Therefore, each patient we need x-rays to review whether taken in our office or transferred from another.  If transferred from another, they need to be considered diagnostic in quality, meaning I need to be able to diagnose off them so they need to be clear and demonstrate the anatomical landmarks I am aiming to examine.  So to start every patient needs x-rays and an examine and then from this exam we determine which type of professional dental cleaning you are in need of.  Many times it is the routine, basic, prophylactic adult type cleaning but in cases of gum disease, generalized or localized we need to perform a more involved cleaning, usually with the use of anesthetic, sometimes only half the mouth at a time, and many times with a follow up 1 month to a couple months later.  We are huge advocates of fluoride and if you meet the ADA recommendations for professional fluoride application annually or biannually we will do so at your cleaning appointment as well. So yes, we have an answer as to how much "a cleaning" is but it is not an a-la-cart service.  For the new patient your cleaning will come with a new patient examination and the necessary x-rays to be taken and reviewed as well as the potential for the recommendation for fluoride.  Our returning patients will be recommended for radiographs usually annually and at their returning routine cleaning appointment will also be examined periodically as per the CDT coding.  If a patient were experiencing discomfort we can see them for a limited examination and a single xray to evaluate the area of concern.

At KTD, we are a small office and want to work with you as best as possible. However, every patient needs to be examined, its the law!