Studies show no clear medical benefit of professional tooth cleaning
Health insurance patients have to pay for professional tooth cleaning themselves because it is not listed in the service catalog of the statutory health insurance companies. Health experts do not see the medical benefits of professional tooth cleaning as proven. The "Hedgehog Monitor" initiative therefore described the actual benefits as "unclear", as no study has yet been able to provide a meaningful assessment of whether dental health is positively influenced in reality.
The cost of professional tooth cleaning for those insured by law is between 60 and 120 euros. Dentists recommend performing the so-called hedgehog service at least every 6 to 12 months. As a rule, the health insurance companies only cover the costs for the removal of tartar and routine dental examinations.
The term "professional tooth cleaning (PZR)" combines numerous measures that are said to protect against tooth decay and periodontitis and to keep the teeth healthy for longer. It is not uncommon for patients during an examination or treatment to be advised to clean their teeth and interdental spaces, remove any deposits and then have them fluoridated.
Professional instructions for cleaning the teeth are sufficient
Although this form of preventive treatment is very widespread and even declared by many dentists as "indispensable", the real benefit has hardly been scientifically investigated. "We found only one study that could give us reasonably reliable information about what the measures would bring for dental health in the end," explained the Medical Service of the Federation of Health Insurance Funds (MDS). However, this investigation showed that apparently the only annual guide to effective dental care is sufficient to take better care of the teeth and reduce the risk of gingivitis. However, a real effect of the PZR was not examined in detail and was therefore not finally assessed. Subjects whose teeth were additionally cleaned with a PZR showed no better dental health, according to the MDS.
According to the MDS, it has therefore not been proven whether the teeth are retained longer and the PZR is “indispensable”. However, because no lasting damage from the additional treatment is to be expected, "we rate professional tooth cleaning as unclear." On the website "www.igel-monitor.de", the initiative evaluates the benefits of services that have to be paid for by patients . To this end, doctors and scientists review current studies and then evaluate them. A visible benefit remains: After all, the teeth are lighter after treatment than before. (sb)
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