Question: When is it okay for your dentist to refuse to clean your teeth? Answer: When they’re trying to safeguard your oral health. Perhaps you have noticed when brushing your teeth that they seem a little longer than normal.

Maybe you’re not the type of person that flosses on a regular basis. It could be that you’ve even observed a little bit of blood in the sink after brushing. You also feel quite tender around the gums. Well, it is definitely time to go in for a dental checkup.

When your dentist or hygienist completes your exam and reviews your x-rays, they are probably going to tell you something you won’t want to hear. You have gum disease, more specifically, Periodontitis. Your dentist will then display to you the x-rays that show the progression of bone loss, and the accumulation of calculus. You’ll get to see the size of the pockets amid your gums and teeth, where the bacteria will collect and cause chronic and systemic infection and inflammation immune response.

Hopefully, your dentist will then explain the difference between a deep dental cleaning and regular cleaning. (Deep cleaning is a treatment procedure that requires anesthesia and multiple follow up visits to ensure the infection has been cleared and your gums are healed.) “No thanks,” you say. “Just clean my teeth so I can be on my way please.” Then your dentist says something you may not be prepared to hear: “I’m sorry, but I can’t do that.”

What is Periodontitis?

Periodontitis is a serious gum infection that harms the soft tissue and devastates the bone that supports your teeth. Periodontitis can trigger tooth loss or worse, an amplified risk of heart attack and stroke or other serious health problems. Periodontitis is common but generally preventable. Periodontitis is usually the result of meager oral hygiene. Brushing twice a day, flossing daily and getting consistent dental checkups can significantly reduce your chance of developing Periodontitis.

However, left untreated, this lingering infection can and will progress. You will eventually lose your teeth, and your jawbone will continue to undergo bone loss that can’t be recovered or restored. Just like any other healthcare professionals, dentistry has a standard of care, which regulates what kind of treatment can be provided based on the condition of a patient’s oral health. Periodontitis is considered a big warning sign when it comes to oral health. A chronic and systemic infection in any other area of the body would be treated and addressed immediately – the mouth is no exception!

The truth is that your dentist cannot clean your teeth when you have untreated periodontitis. It’s against their ethical and professional standards. It’s also with your best interests in mind. Nearly half of all adults in the Canada over the age of 30 have some form of gum disease. Gum disease is a massive and widespread public health issue. So if you want to get a second opinion hen do so, but whatever you decide, take action if necessary. Gum disease is treatable, correctable, and most notably, preventable.

Are you looking for a dentist? Well, new patients are always welcome at Dr. Jason Harvey’s office. We pledge to treat you with the same respect and care that we do for each of our valued clients.