Professional teeth cleaning (PZR)Patients are often offered a "professional teeth cleaning" at the dentist which should prevent the occurrence of caries or periodontitis (disease of the periodontium). This is a costly procedure for patients, but most health insurance companies will pay for it.
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– Professional teeth cleaning consists of a thorough cleaning of the teeth from soft and hard plaque, also in the interdental spaces. Then fluoridation and polishing. Guidance on good oral hygiene is crucial. – The PZR is always a private service, however, many health insurance companies subsidize it voluntarily. – Costs between 80 and 120 euros are realistic. The costs can differ significantly between regions, practices and expenditure.
What is done during PZR?
Professional dental cleaning is an intensive cleaning with special instruments. The goal is to remove disease-causing and cosmetically disturbing plaque that increases the risk of caries and periodontitis.
Sound instruments, powder-water spray and hand instruments are used to remove plaque, on the teeth, in the interdental spaces and also below the gum line. This is followed by polishing of the teeth, which makes it more difficult for new bacteria to adhere, and finally fluoridation with a varnish or gel to protect the teeth from decay. In addition, tips for proper oral hygiene at home are included, which is crucial for oral health in the long term. In most cases, specially trained employees perform the PZR in the practice. The result and the condition of the teeth after the PZR is checked again by the dentist at the end of the treatment.
How much may the dental cleaning cost?
The professional teeth cleaning is not a general statutory health insurance benefit, but must be paid privately. Since PZR has been included in the private dentists' fee schedule (GOZ), dentists must bill according to the corresponding GOZ number (number 1040).
The dentist calculates the costs according to the time required and the degree of difficulty. Important factors for the calculation are, for example, the number and condition of the teeth, as well as the type, amount and cause of plaque.
The methods and materials used, as well as the qualifications of the employee, are also taken into account. With an average effort (Fee factor 2.3) are the 3,62 Euro per tooth. A total price of about 80 to 120 is realistic according to the Kassenzahnarztlicher Bundesvereinigung (Federal Association of Statutory Health Insurance Dentists). However, depending on the practice, expense and region, prices can vary significantly. Low prices are dubious, as are package deals outside the private fee schedule, discounts or special offers.
What does the statutory health insurance pay?
Statutory health insurance for adults is one tartar removal per year. Many statutory health insurance companies cover the costs of professional teeth cleaning in full or in part as a voluntary additional benefit. Since 2015, the Kassenzahnarztliche Bundesvereinigung (KZBV) has published a list of the statutory health insurance companies that contribute to the costs of a PZR. In 2018, only 49 of 110 health insurers inquired responded; of these, 47 indicated that they would provide a subsidy for PZR. So ask your health insurance company or your private supplementary dental insurer whether the costs are covered in full or in part.
What is known about the benefits?
From the point of view of the German Dental Association, professional tooth cleaning is a sensible and effective measure. Home oral hygiene is usually not sufficient to prevent caries and periodontitis and to keep teeth and gums healthy. During professional tooth cleaning (PZR), especially stubborn deposits could be. Bacterial plaque on hard-to-reach tooth surfaces is removed. The IGeL Monitor, on the other hand, rates PZR as "unclear" after weighing up the benefits and harms. The reason: after their systematic literature search, the researchers found no robust study to prove a benefit.
However, the IGeL-Monitor assessment applies to patients with healthy teeth, not to people at high risk of periodontitis. (IGeL-Monitor: Evaluation of professional teeth cleaning). In 2013, the renowned research network of the Cochrane Collaboration also criticized that there was little reliable and high-quality research on the benefits of professional teeth cleaning. The German Society for Dental Conservation (DGZ) published "Basic recommendations for caries prophylaxis in the permanent dentition" in 2013. Core statement: If professional teeth cleaning is understood as an overall concept with various measures, it is "possible to significantly reduce caries" and also prevent periodontal disease. Only removing dental plaque is not enough, he said. For long-term success, it is important to motivate and instruct patients to maintain their own oral hygiene during dental cleaning.
Tips for patients
As Stiftung Warentest examined on a small scale in 2011 and 2015, professional tooth cleaning is not performed in the same way in all dental practices. That's why patients should make sure to follow all the important steps in the procedure:
– The examination of teeth and gums – The removal of soft and hard plaque – The polishing of teeth and the application of a fluoride varnish or gel – Tips for oral hygiene at home
How much plaque is present before and/or after cleaning can be visualized with dye tablets or plaque rinses.
Those who are unsure of the cost can get an estimate of the cost. Also allowed to ask about the qualification of the professional: at least it should be a dental prophylaxis assistant (ZMP). The best qualified is a dental hygienist (DH).
Compare prices at different practices.
Ask your health insurance if it pays a subsidy for PZR.
Ask if all of the above steps are part of treatment.
Make sure that the dentist himself checks the condition of your teeth. When in doubt, combine cleaning with the semi-annual inspection appointment.