At Reich Dental Center – Roswell, our patients often ask us about the difference between a regular dental cleaning and periodontal maintenance. The two procedures are significantly different and need to be thoroughly understood so that the right care is provided. Proper information about both procedures can help in optimal treatment and mitigation of the risk of complications.
Difference Between Basic Cleaning and Periodontal Maintenance
A basic dental cleaning or dental prophylaxis is a non-therapeutic and purely preventive procedure that helps to maintain the continued good health of your mouth. Typically, patients with good oral health need to visit us every six months and even less if they have exceptional oral health.
In contrast, periodontal maintenance is a more active form of treatment and is performed on patients who have gum disease or were treated for gum disease. Usually, this treatment is recommended to those people who have active moderate to severe chronic periodontal disease. Periodontal maintenance serves to keep the disease under control and stop its progress.
Periodontal disease occurs when bacteria form colonies on the gum tissues and even extend to below the gumline. This can cause tenderness, inflammation, and bleeding of the gum as well as a foul taste in the mouth and bad breath. When bacteria infect the gum tissue, the body’s defense mechanism fights the invasion by breaking down the diseased tissue. As a result, gum and tooth structure is destroyed. The pockets between the gum and teeth become deeper, and your teeth become loose or fall out.
The bacteria may also enter the bloodstream and affect other areas of your body.
People with chronic periodontal disease need to visit us every two to three months for periodontal maintenance.
Why Does Periodontal Maintenance Involve More Frequent Dental Visits?
Periodontal maintenance requires more frequent visits than regular cleaning because of sound reasoning: bacteria.
When the plaque is not completely eliminated, bacteria colonize on the sticky film and proliferate in just three to twelve weeks or three months. After that period, it is necessary to once again reduce their numbers. Research shows that patients who do not come for periodontal maintenance every two to four months are at increased risk of losing two to three times more teeth than those who do not miss their appointments.
What Does Periodontal Maintenance Involve?
Periodontal maintenance is typically performed in several steps at Reich Dental Center – Roswell:
|Supragingival/Subgingival cleaning: We will thoroughly clean the bacterial plaque from above the gumline, below the gumline, and from inside the gum pockets with scaling instruments.
|Root Planing: We will then perform root planing which involves smoothing the tooth root so that bacteria may not get traction on the surface and stick there.
|Medication: Scaling and root planing is usually followed by one or multiple courses of antibiotic medication to get rid of the infection and promote fast healing of the gums.
|Gum Flap Surgery: Sometimes, the pockets are so deep that we need to resort to surgical procedures like gum flap surgery. This involves opening up a flap of gum, removing the infection from beneath it, and then closing the flap with sutures, so that gums can tightly close around the teeth again.
|Gum/Bone Graft: As periodontal disease also results in destruction of gum and bone tissue, a gum graft or bone augmentation surgery may also be required to build up the lost tissue.
It is extremely important that you do not miss any of your periodontal maintenance appointments as it can cause irreversible damage to the health of your mouth. If you think you have gum disease, call us at 770-992-3353 and we will make a treatment plan for you.
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