Periodontal Maintenance

Keeping teeth and gums clean is an important step to ensuring both long-term oral health and also overall general health and wellbeing.

At Dougherty DDS, we offer both prophylaxis (routine dental cleaning) to remove tartar plaque buildup and also more extensive, periodontal maintenance of the teeth and gums. Periodontal maintenance is needed every few months for any patient diagnosed with periodontal disease.

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease (or periodontitis) is an infection of the gum tissue that surrounds and supports teeth. While there are several different types of periodontal disease, all are forms of plaque buildup that deteriorate the gum tissues and can worsen over time. Although periodontitis is usually painless and can be difficult to detect, it is a major cause of tooth loss for adults.

Is there a way to avoid periodontal disease?

The best way to prevent periodontitis is to undertake good, daily oral hygiene habits. Brushing teeth at least twice each day for two minutes and flossing every day are good habits that can’t be started too early. Regular dental visits also help lower the risk of developing periodontal disease. In addition to poor dental habits, other risk factors include smoking, substance abuse, obesity, poor nutrition, and certain medications or chronic illnesses.

How is periodontal maintenance different from routine cleaning?

Routine cleaning and periodontal maintenance cleaning are quite similar. For routine dental cleanings, the dentist will check the mouth and teeth, remove tartar, floss, and polish teeth. Following a deep cleaning of scaling and root planing, periodontal maintenance patients then have a similar cleaning treatment appointment every three months to remove bacteria and plaque below the gum line.

What is a periodontal maintenance cleaning appointment like?

Patients should expect to receive periodontal maintenance every three months. The appointment will include a review and update of dental and medical history, a visual exam of the oral tissue in the mouth, and painless measurement of gum pocket depths in the mouth.

The dentist or hygienist will then perform a deep cleaning of the teeth using hand instruments and an ultrasonic scaler, as needed. Gums and teeth will be examined, and the teeth will be polished and flossed after cleaning. You should feel comfortable during the process and appointments usually last about 60 minutes. Digital X-rays will be taken periodically.

Is periodontal maintenance cleaning always needed?

Periodontitis is a chronic disease. For patients who receive this diagnosis, periodontal maintenance will be required every few months indefinitely. For patients who are diligent about at-home oral health care that helps to stabilize the periodontitis, intervals between cleanings can sometimes be extended.

If you experience red, swollen, tender or bleeding gums while brushing or flossing, please contact us. We offer comprehensive dental services and can get you back to feeling great!

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