What Is Periodontal Maintenance?

Dr Advocate Avatar IconUpdated: September 1, 2022
By: Dr. Advocate

One of the most expensive systems in a home is an air conditioning system. Intelligent homeowners are tuned in to how to keep it running well. Changing the filters every 3 to 4 months can lower monthly operating costs and increase the system’s life. Teeth are even more valuable, and a vital maintenance routine positively affects their “operation,” too. Periodontal maintenance is cleaning performed every 3 to 4 months after periodontal disease has been diagnosed and treated with scaling and root planing.

The procedure involves removing bacteria above and below the gum line. The bony structure that supports the tooth has areas of bone loss 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, the 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, it’s essential to arrest the disease-causing bacteria and prevent them from re-adhering deep within the gums. 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’ll need to see a Periodontist for further surgical treatment. Don’t let hard work, valuable time, and money be wasted by not visiting your hygienist for periodontal maintenance every 3 to 4 months. You owe it to your oral and systemic health!


What happens during treatment?

Periodontal Maintenance and Treatment | Medically accurate illustration | My Dental Advocate

Suppose you’re returning for your first periodontal maintenance appointment. In that case, your hygienist will begin by visualizing your teeth, providing feedback related to your home care, and suggesting areas to improve. It’s easy to neglect a 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 is completed, 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 as it’s essential to repair and restore damaged enamel.


Postoperative instructions

After treatment is completed, your hygienist will schedule your next maintenance appointment in 3 to 4 months, depending on how much plaque or tartar was present. Some patients need to be seen every three months because they produce more tartar than others. Therefore, it’s essential to maintain regular visits to keep periodontal disease under control.

Related: Best MDA Recommended Products


Final thoughts


Periodontal maintenance is essential to keeping periodontal disease under control. With proper care and education, you are well on your way to a healthier smile. 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.


Dr Advocate Avatar IconAbout the Author

Dr. Advocate is an actual board-certified dentist with clinical practice experience and a mission to provide accurate dental patient education. He believes everyone should access easy-to-read dental resources presented in layman’s terms with relevant, up-to-date dental research and insight to improve their oral health.




Gum recession process illustration | Periodontal Maintenance | My Dental Advocate

What Is Periodontal
Maintenance?

Dr Advocate Avatar IconUpdated: September 1, 2022
By: Dr. Advocate

One of the most expensive systems in a home is an air conditioning system. Intelligent homeowners are tuned in to how to keep it running well. Changing the filters every 3 to 4 months can lower monthly operating costs and increase the system’s life. Teeth are even more valuable, and a vital maintenance routine positively affects their “operation,” too. Periodontal maintenance is cleaning performed every 3 to 4 months after periodontal disease has been diagnosed and treated with scaling and root planing.

The procedure involves removing bacteria above and below the gum line. The bony structure that supports the tooth has areas of bone loss 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, the 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, it’s essential to arrest the disease-causing bacteria and prevent them from re-adhering deep within the gums. 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’ll need to see a Periodontist for further surgical treatment. Don’t let hard work, valuable time, and money be wasted by not visiting your hygienist for periodontal maintenance every 3 to 4 months. You owe it to your oral and systemic health!


What happens during treatment?

Periodontal Maintenance and Treatment | Medically accurate illustration | My Dental Advocate

Suppose you’re returning for your first periodontal maintenance appointment. In that case, your hygienist will begin by visualizing your teeth, providing feedback related to your home care, and suggesting areas to improve. It’s easy to neglect a 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 is completed, 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 as it’s essential to repair and restore damaged enamel.


Postoperative instructions

After treatment is completed, your hygienist will schedule your next maintenance appointment in 3 to 4 months, depending on how much plaque or tartar was present. Some patients need to be seen every three months because they produce more tartar than others. Therefore, it’s essential to maintain regular visits to keep periodontal disease under control.

Related: Best MDA Recommended Products


Frequently asked questions (FAQ)


loader-image

Scaling and root planing involve cleaning the root surface and bacteria embedded deep into the gum tissue. The goal of SRP is to re-establish a healthy gum tissue reattachment. If periodontal maintenance is performed, gum tissue has been re-established.

It’s possible if scaling and root planing were completed on a single quadrant or isolated areas in the mouth. If the patient needed two or more quadrants of SRP, then periodontal maintenance continuation would be advised.

It’s possible; however, it’s only necessary if you’ve had a flare-up and bacteria has re-established deep below the gum line. Often, patients that miss multiple periodontal maintenance appointments, or forget to come back altogether, will need scaling and root planing re-treatment.


Final thoughts


Periodontal maintenance is essential to keeping periodontal disease under control. With proper care and education, you are well on your way to a healthier smile. 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.


Dr Advocate Avatar Icon
About the Author

Dr. Advocate is an actual board-certified dentist with clinical practice experience and a mission to provide accurate dental patient education. He believes everyone should access easy-to-read dental resources presented in layman’s terms with relevant, up-to-date dental research and insight to improve their oral health.



Related Topics


Prophylaxis

Scaling and Root Planing


Take control of your dental wellness!



Take control
of your dental wellness!