Periodontal maintenance is a cleaning procedure performed to thoroughly clean the teeth. Maintenance is an important dental treatment for halting the progression of periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease and gingivitis occur when bacteria from the plaque colonize on the gingival (gum) tissue, either above or below the gum line. These bacteria colonies cause serious inflammation and irritation which in turn produce a chronic inflammatory response in the body. As a result, the body begins to systematically destroy gum and bone tissue, making the teeth shift, become unstable, and eventually lead to tooth loss. The pockets between the gums and teeth become deeper and house more bacteria which may travel via the bloodstream and infect other parts of the body.
What does periodontal maintenance involve?
Prophylaxis can either be performed in the course of a regular dental visit or, if necessary, under general anesthetic. The latter is particularly common where severe periodontal disease is suspected or has been diagnosed by the dentist.
- Supragingival cleaning- The hygienist will thoroughly clean the area above the gum line with scaling tools to rid them of plaque and calculus.
- Subgingival cleaning- This is the most important step for patients with periodontal disease because the dentist is able to remove calculus and bacteria from the gum pockets and beneath the gum line.
- Root Planing- This is the smoothing of the tooth root to eliminate any remaining bacteria.
- X-ray and examination- Routine x-rays can be extremely revealing with it comes to periodontal disease. X-rays show the extent of bone and gum recession, and it also aids the dentist or periodontist in identifying areas which may need future attention.
Periodontal maintenance is recommended every three to four months. Research indicates bacterial formation on teeth and gum occurs almost immediately after the cleaning, and bad bacteria forming every 3 months. Frequent removal of the bacteria from under the gum line can control the inflammation and can often prevent further breakdown of the bone and gum supporting your teeth. Though gum disease cannot be completely reversed, periodontal maintenance is one of the tools used to effectively stop its destructive progress.