You might think that dental checkups are always the same. While both regular cleanings and periodontal maintenance are performed on a routine schedule, they differ in that one is a preventative measure, and the other is a treatment.
Periodontal maintenance is a routine dental cleaning for patients with periodontal disease, those who had a periodontal procedure, or present other serious oral concerns. This type of cleaning is deeper and it targets periodontal pockets. Periodontal maintenance is for patients with periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease, also called gum disease, is an excessive bacterial build up, which occurs between the teeth and gums. Periodontal disease affects roughly three out of four patients and occurs when tartar accumulates more than four millimeters below the gum line, creating pockets between the teeth and gums, where bacteria thrive. Left unattended, periodontal disease can lead to inflammation, infection, bone loss and systemic health problems (diabetes and heart disease).
Similar to a regular teeth cleaning, periodontal maintenance removes tartar buildup from the teeth. Unlike a normal, preventative cleaning, periodontal maintenance is a treatment prescribed to combat periodontal disease. It involves both scaling and root planing, meaning tartar must be removed from deep between the teeth and gums. During a periodontal maintenance appointment, our hygienist will remove tartar build up from in between your teeth and gums down the entire length of each tooth, stopping where the gum, root and bone meet. Your hygienist will carefully monitor the depth of each pocket in your gums and irrigate these pockets with antiseptic medications, if inflammation or infection are present.
Periodontal maintenance appointments only occur after a patient has been diagnosed with periodontal disease and treated for periodontal root planing & scaling. It includes regular visits to the dentist to clean the entire oral cavity, and treatments are usually performed over a specific amount of time, or until all oral heath concerns are properly dealt with and symptoms of gum disease are managed and fully under control. These types of cleanings are usually recommended every three to four months in order to maintain gum health and eradicate the dangerous bacterial growth that occurs with periodontal disease.