What is Periodontal Maintenance?

A dental cleaning is a dental cleaning, right? We all know it is important to have your teeth cleaned, and to you, all dental cleanings may be the same. Periodontal maintenance is a type of deep cleaning that is recommended for individuals who have identified periodontal disease after they have had specialty periodontal treatments. If the goal of a periodontal maintenance treatment is to remove plaque and prevent future decay, than how does it really differ from a regular routine cleaning? Below is more information explaining what exactly periodontal maintenance is and how it differs from  a routine cleaning treatment.

Periodontal Maintenance

For individuals who have developed gum disease, or periodontal disease, there are many stages of treatment options that dentists recommend to help try to restore good oral health and minimize the progression of the disease.

When gum disease is first discovered, dentists recommend a deep cleaning called “scaling and root planing”. During this procedure, specialized tools are used to remove bacteria and buildup from above and below the gumline, all of the way down to where the tooth meets the bone. If the disease is more advanced when it is discovered, the first step may need to be a more aggressive periodontal surgery to attack the infection.

After these immediate treatment steps are taken to reduce the progression of gum disease, routine dental cleanings are recommended, and these are called “periodontal maintenance”. The goal of periodontal maintenance is a deeper cleaning of the teeth and gums to continue to halt periodontal disease. The reason why patients with gum disease can’t just go back to getting regular cleanings is because “pockets” have formed along the gumline. These pockets are spaces that develop between the teeth and gums caused by excess plaque buildup. Maintenance cleanings are critical to helping recover your oral health after having the onset of gum disease. Periodontal maintenance can help stop gum disease and undo some of its damage.  For periodontal maintenance care, cleaning appointments are required more frequently, as often as every 2-3 months.

Routine Dental Cleaning

A professional dental cleaning is a preventative treatment that is usually included with a regular dental visit. The goal of a routine cleaning is to remove plaque and buildup from around and between teeth, floss, and polish the teeth. Daily drinking of beverages and eating cause deposit to build up on your teeth which develops into tartar. Tartar is the leading cause of many oral health problems. The goal of daily brushing and flossing is to eliminate as much of this deposit as possible, however eliminating all build up through good daily hygiene is impossible. Seeing a dentist regularly for a checkup and a cleaning is essential to maintaining optimal oral health and avoiding gum disease. If cleanings are skipped and tartar is not removed, it will build up under the gum line, and eventually will lead to gum disease. Routine dental cleanings are recommended once every 6 months to prevent gum disease.

Yes, a dental cleaning is a dental cleaning. But for individuals with periodontal disease, periodontal maintenance is essential to preserving oral health.

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