Treatment or Scam?
What is an SRP?
The SRP procedure, or scaling and root planing, is a procedure that patients must receive when diagnosed with periodontal disease. Also commonly referred to as a deep cleaning, an SRP functions to remove infection in the gums and tartar or plaque build up. At Snellville Family Dental we believe it is easier to prevent than to fix. That is why we are thorough when we examine every patient for periodontal disease. According to the CDC, we know that half of Americans have Periodontal Disease. However, we are very careful to not diagnose our patients with periodontal disease unless specific criteria have been met and discussed with each patient.
Patients Should Be Aware of SRP Scams
As with any procedure, patients should find a doctor they thoroughly trust before accepting treatment. This is especially true of SRP procedures since many offices out there will tell patients they need a deep cleaning, when they do not actually need one. Unfortunately this can happen, but at Snellville Family Dental we will always be honest with our patients; we will only perform procedures absolutely necessary, and our Hygienists work by the standards set forth by the American Dental Association (ADA). We will be happy to offer patients a free second opinion if they are not satisfied with a diagnosis from another office.
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When is an SRP Necessary?
Our Doctors and hygienists use radiographs as well as an intraoral evaluations to get a full scope of the condition of the bone supporting the teeth. X-rays allow us to see and diagnose damage and diseases that are not detectable by an oral exam. Any bone loss that is detected should be treated immediately. The hygienist will also probe the gums to determine the size of the pockets between a patient’s gums and teeth. If the pocket is 3-5 mm in size, that indicates periodontal disease in the gums; pockets of 5-6 mm in size indicates severe gum disease, and requires treatment. It is ideal for patients to keep their gum pockets to 1-3 mm in size. There are several levels of gum disease that each require different treatment options..
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Though this diagnosis is not apparent to patients, gum disease is often accompanied by other symptoms that are easier to spot. For example, many patients report bleeding in the gums when they brush or floss. Additionally, patients may experience unusual plaque or tartar buildup, as well as shifting of their teeth and a change in bite. Essentially, these symptoms are caused by bacteria that are trapped in the pockets of gums and erode gum tissue and even bone under the gum line. As a result, patients experience a receding gums line, loose teeth, or any of the other aforementioned symptoms.
Are SRP’s Necessary Forever?
As long as patients take good care of their teeth following an SRP and attend regular preventative dental visits, they will only need a full SRP once or a few times. The SRP serves to help patients clear their mouth of infection and start over with new, more responsible dental habits. Once a patient receives an SRP, the following cleaning visits are also considered periodontal maintenance. This means that the Doctor and Hygienist will ensure bone loss does not get any worse and that the gums are free of infection.
The SRP Procedure
Though the procedure itself seems daunting, getting an SRP is not as bad as many think. The SRP procedure is significantly more intensive than prophylaxis cleanings, but local anesthetic is used so that the patient does not feel any of it. In the scaling portion, the hygienist will remove the plaque and tartar from the tooth and root using a hand instrument. The instrument is also used to go below the gum line and along the root of the tooth to remove the material that is inflaming the gums. In the root planing portion, the roots of teeth are smoothed to ensure that the gums will be able to reattach to the teeth, where the bacteria and infection has pulled it away. Sometimes, due to certain insurance plans, the procedure can take two visits to complete treatment, treating two quadrants of the mouth in each appointment.
Getting an SRP at Snellville Family Dental
As we said before, we will never perform unnecessary treatment on a patient, including SRP procedures. Since we follow the standards provided by the American Dental Association, patients can trust that any treatment administered is necessary. We also understand that an SRP can be an intimidating procedure for many reasons, and we will do everything to make our patients feel more comfortable. The treatment will typically take about an hour once any necessary X-rays are taken.
Will Insurance Cover the Procedure?
The price of an SRP will cost around $189 per quadrant. SRP’s are priced per quadrant because often times only certain portions of the mouth require the scaling and root planing. For patients with insurance, the cost of the visit is often covered at a certain percentage by their insurance company. Many insurance plans use a 100-80-50 format of coverage, which means preventative care is covered at 100%, basic procedures at 80%, and major procedures at 50%. However, benefits will vary depending on the patient’s specific plan, so patients should contact their insurance company for exact coverage. At Snellville Family Dental, we will submit dental insurance claims as a courtesy to our patients.