Sometimes a regular dental cleaning isn’t enough to restore your teeth to health. In this case, Dr. Abad at Alondra Dental Care may recommend periodontal maintenance, a deeper-level cleaning. Through this type of treatment, we can combat an advanced form of gum disease called periodontal disease. When you come in for a maintenance appointment, you can expect a gentle touch, personalized service, and top-notch care as we truly care about your comfort and your oral health.
Peri– means around, so periodontal maintenance involves caring for the areas around the teeth of those who have developed periodontal disease, or an infection of the gums. By some estimates, up to 50% of American adults are currently in the early stages of gum disease. If left untreated, this type of disease can gradually destroy the support of your natural teeth. For this reason, if you have gum disease, we will recommend treatment procedures such as deep teeth cleaning and gum disease laser treatment. Then, after you have undergone treatment, we will recommend maintenance appointments, or dental cleanings to keep the disease at bay.
During a regular dental cleaning, also called a prophylaxis, your dentist removes bacteria to prevent tooth decay every six months. It is a preventative treatment. However, during a maintenance appointment, your dentist will therapeutically intervene to stop gum disease from occurring again and again. This treatment procedure typically occurs every three to four months.
Keep in mind that perio-maintenance isn’t for individuals who have healthy gums. Likewise, it’s not recommended for people with active disease of the gums. Instead, people whose gums are healthy should maintain their twice-a-year prophylaxis treatments. Meanwhile, people who have active disease of the gums should complete treatment to put a stop to this disease. Then, they can undergo regular maintenance.
During a periodontal maintenance appointment, Dr. Abad will use instruments to remove the buildup of tartar, or hardened plaque, from between your gums and teeth down each tooth’s entire length. She will stop where your bone, root, and gum meet. During the cleaning, she will monitor each gum pocket’s depth and irrigate the pockets using an antiseptic medication if infection or inflammation is present. Doing this will help you to maintain your gum’s health and eliminate the dangerous growth of bacteria that leads to periodontal disease.
Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum disease than to cavities. 75% of older adults will eventually develop this condition. Brushing and flossing your teeth every day are the best ways to prevent cavities and gum diseases.
Bacterial plaque is one of the leading causes of gum disease, but it can be difficult to see plaque on your own. Plaque is a colorless film containing germs that stick to your teeth right at the gum line, and it forms as a natural part of your daily activities, like eating and drinking. With regular dental cleanings, you can remove these germs and help prevent this cause of gum disease.
If you don’t remove plaque by brushing your teeth and flossing, it hardens into a rough, porous substance called calculus (or tartar). Tartar buildup can be a sign of the early stages of gum disease. Once formed, it can only be removed by your dentist.
The bacteria found in plaque produce toxins that irritate the gums, which may cause them to turn red, swell, and bleed easily. These symptoms indicate the early stages of gum disease. Without periodontal disease treatment and regular periodontal maintenance, the irritation can worsen. If the irritation is prolonged, the gums can separate from the teeth, causing pockets (spaces) to form. Eventually, as periodontal diseases progress, the gum tissue holding the teeth in can deteriorate and ultimately lead to tooth loss.
The best way to stop gum disease from recurring is with a regular periodontal maintenance program. Unfortunately, even with the most diligent home dental care, which includes effective daily brushing and flossing, combined with regular professional examinations and cleanings, people can still develop and continue to battle some form of periodontal disease. That’s why it’s critical to still see a dentist every six months for regular cleanings and avoid delaying periodontal treatment and maintenance appointments if they are recommended to help your teeth and gums.