What Is Periodontal Maintenance?
Matt Hannan, DDS
Updated: January 14, 2024
An air conditioning system is one of the most expensive systems in a home.
Intelligent homeowners are tuned in to how to keep it running well.
Teeth are even more valuable, and a vital maintenance routine positively affects their “operation,” too.
Periodontal maintenance is cleaning every 3 to 4 months after periodontal disease has been diagnosed and treated with scaling and root planing.
What Is Periodontal Maintenance?
The procedure involves removing bacteria above and below the gum line. The bony structure supporting the tooth has bone loss areas that appear like craters on the moon’s surface.
The gum tissue sits above these craters surrounding the tooth; however, bacteria can easily adhere to the tooth in these hard-to-clean areas, leading to further bone loss and destruction.
Periodontal maintenance aims to spend time cleaning in and around these areas to regularly maintain stable bone and gum tissue.
If periodontal disease is stable and under control, the periodontal measurements should be 2-4 mm. Although bone loss is present, healthy gum tissue can stabilize oral health.
If routine therapy is not maintained, periodontal patients are prone to bacteria flare-ups that may correlate with a return to active periodontal disease.Recommended Reading: Overcoming Obstacles at the Dentist
Is Periodontal Maintenance Necessary?
Periodontal disease is a lifelong disease that alternates between an active and stable form.
When bone loss occurs, it’s unable to regrow back to its original state. Because of this, arresting the disease-causing bacteria and preventing them from re-adhering deep within the gums is essential.
If a patient is scheduled for periodontal maintenance, scaling and root planing have been completed, and the gum tissue has responded well enough for regular maintenance.
If the gum tissue responds poorly after scaling and root planing, you must see a Periodontist for further surgical treatment.
Don’t waste hard work, valuable time, and money by not visiting your hygienist for periodontal maintenance every 3 to 4 months.
What Happens During Treatment?
Suppose you’re returning for your first periodontal maintenance appointment.
In that case, your hygienist will begin by visualizing your teeth, providing feedback on your home care, and suggesting improvement areas.
It’s easy to neglect the location of your mouth and realize tartar has re-established itself in an unknown area.
Hand instruments and ultrasonic scalers will remove the plaque and tartar above and below the gum line.
If areas of inflammation are noted, the hygienist can use additional procedures such as 2% Chlorhexidine Gluconate, Arestin, or diode laser to re-establish health and support bacteria removal.
After scaling, the hygienist will polish teeth to remove stains and smooth the tooth’s surface, making it difficult for bacteria to re-adhere. Finally, fluoride application will be advised to repair and restore damaged enamel.
After treatment, your hygienist will schedule your next maintenance appointment in 3 to 4 months, depending on how much plaque or tartar is present.
Some patients must be seen every three months because they produce more tartar than others.
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Therefore, it’s essential to maintain regular visits to keep periodontal disease under control.
My Experience & Expertise
Periodontal maintenance is essential to keeping periodontal disease under control. You are well on your way to a healthier smile with proper care and education.
However, have you recently been diagnosed with gum disease? Do you desire a second opinion?
My Dental Advocate’s team of board-certified dentists can provide a second opinion on your planned treatment. We look forward to bringing you peace of mind by verifying your treatment plan, suggesting an alternative, or just answering your questions.
Need a second opinion? We can help! Learn more. Knowledge is power when cultivating healthy dental habits. The more informed you are, the better positioned you’ll be to prevent avoidable and potentially costly dental procedures for you and your family. Watch for future blog posts, where we’ll continue sharing important information, product reviews and practical advice!
About the Author
Dr. Matthew Hannan, also known as “Dr. Advocate,” is a board-certified dentist on a mission to provide accurate dental patient education. He attended Baylor University before completing dental school at UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry. He now lives in Arizona with his beautiful wife and 4 kids. Dr. Hannan believes everyone should access easy-to-read dental resources with relevant, up-to-date dental research and insight to improve their oral health.
Connect with Dr. Hannan!
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