Periodontal disease affects the gums and bone to which a tooth is attached. It is a bacterial infection that causes tooth loss and gum recession, and is often the result of infrequent visits to the dentist for routine adult prophylaxis.
The disease is also marked by excessive amounts of plaque and tartar that make evaluation of your oral health difficult. As a result, a full mouth debridement is often necessary to complete a proper evaluation and subsequent cleaning.
The American Dental Association describes a full mouth debridement as the “gross removal of plaque and calculus that interfere with the ability of the dentist to perform a comprehensive oral evaluation.”
Quite simply, this code covers the removal of plaque and tartar that is so prominent in the mouth that removing it will take a considerable amount more effort and time than in a typical cleaning.
Furthermore, after removal, additional procedures such as scaling and root planing (SRP) may be necessary, or specifically, scaling and root planing (SRP) for one to three teeth, as well as a prophylaxis (prophy).
Neither are included within this code’s description, and come subsequent to full mouth debridement.
The procedure for full debridement is like any other prophy, with the exception of the time involved and the fact that some form of anesthetic may sometimes be used to numb the area. This can be necessary if you experience sensitivity due to recessed gums that have exposed the tooth’s cementum, or because you anticipate a degree of anxiety during the procedure.
It is worth nothing that this dental procedure code covers the debridement of materials from above the gumline only, and if buildup exists below the gumline, other dental codes such as those related scaling and root planing are used instead.