Maintenance

Periodontal Maintenance vs. Regular Dental Cleaning

Periodontal maintenance involves a cleaning that is deeper than a normal cleaning in a dental office. Patients with a history of periodontal disease need deeper and more frequent cleanings because periodontal “pockets” have formed. Pockets are spaces between the teeth and gums where plaque and tartar form.  While regular cleanings (prophylaxis) cleans the crowns of your teeth above your gum line, periodontal maintenance goes a little deeper, slightly below the gum line.  

 


  

Periodontal Maintenance

It only takes twenty four hours for plaque that is not removed from your teeth to turn into calculus (tartar).  Daily home cleaning helps control plaque and tartar formation, but those hard to reach areas will always need special attention.  For those patients who have dental implants, periodontal maintenance is critical because implants, like your natural teeth, also form plaque and calculus and need regular attention to sustain their health.  

Once your periodontal treatment has been completed, your periodontist and dental hygienist will recommend that you have regular maintenance cleanings (periodontal cleanings) usually four times a year thereby reducing the chances of your periodontal disease returning or progressing.  At these cleaning appointments, the pocket depths will be carefully checked to ensure that they are healthy.  Plaque and calculus that is difficult for you to remove on a daily basis will be removed from above and below the gum line.

In addition to your periodontal cleaning and evaluation, your appointment will usually include:

  • Examination of diagnostic digital x-rays (radiographs): Essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss.  X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
  • Examination of existing restorations: Check current fillings, crowns, etc.
  • Examination of tooth decay: Check all tooth surfaces for decay.
  • Oral cancer screening: Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, cheek tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
  • Oral hygiene recommendations: Review and recommend oral hygiene aids as needed. (Electric toothbrushes, special periodontal brushes, fluorides, rinses, etc.)
  • Teeth polishing: Remove stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.

Good oral hygiene practices and periodontal cleanings are essential in maintaining dental health and keeping periodontal disease under control!