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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.

Once your periodontal treatment has been completed, we will recommend that you have regular maintenance cleanings (periodontal cleanings), usually four times a year.  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 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!

Gum disease is controllable but not curable.  The periodontal maintenance is the most important procedure that you can do to keep periodontal disease under control.  Usually at the completion of active therapy, a 3 month recall schedule is selected because the bacteria build up and double every day.  By the end of the third month they are attacking the bone.  Maintenance at 6 month intervals is usually not sufficient because the bacteria growth that occurs in the 4th, 5th and 6 th months is phenomenal.

Usually an alternating 3 month recall schedule is recommended.  In that schedule, you see the Periodontist in 3 months and the General Dentist 3 months later.  In this fashion, the General Dentist does a periodontal maintenance but also places emphasis on diagnosing teeth problems and 3 months later, we do a periodontal maintenance and place emphasis on diagnosing tissue issues.  This shared responsibility helps catch problems early.

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