Periodontal maintenance is a procedure to control the spread of bacteria within the oral cavity. It is only performed on those patients who already have had periodontal surgery to treat periodontitis, or suffer from several oral complications such as bone loss, bleeding gums, and exposed roots. Healthy patients will not need periodontal maintenance.
Periodontal maintenance is similar to a regular dental cleaning, that you should be having with our dentists every six months. However, periodontal maintenance is a more comprehensive cleaning, both underneath the gums and on the gum line, as patients with periodontitis are at a higher risk of bacteria overwhelming their oral health.
If you have ever gone without brushing your teeth, then you will see a thin yellow layer start to appear on your teeth. This yellowing is known as plaque. Although most of our mouth’s bacteria are not harmful, there are still some who love the opportunity to eat away at the food you eat. They will then release harmful enzymes in between the teeth and gum line. With bacteria flourishing within the plaque buildup, it is only with time that it will completely make up the plaque. In fact, only one day is needed to have a full amount of plaque.
Periodontitis is a non-curable disease. Periodontal maintenance is used to control the bacteria in the mouth to prevent the condition from worsening. Healthy patients should not have the procedure done as it can be damaging to a healthy mouth.
At San Francisco Dental Arts we take periodontitis seriously and advise you to come in every three months to undergo periodontal maintenance treatment. In order to recognize gum disease, you need to know what steps are involved. We will gladly go over the many symptoms of gum disease with you.
Periodontitis is a severe gum disease that has become an invasive part of a person’s oral health. It begins as gingivitis, a mild inflammation that can cause bleeding when brushing and may cause swelling of the gums. Gingivitis can be common and is easily curable through the maintenance of good oral health and removal of plaque and tartar during a routine cleaning with our dentist.
If the gum disease is allowed to continue to worsen, the gums will begin to recede, as the bacteria release toxins, destroying the gums. At this point, patients have been known to also experience bone loss. Once it escalates further, the teeth will start to become loose as the bone support and the roots begin to weaken. The worst cases of periodontitis lead to tooth loss, pain when chewing, and severe bad breath.
Our dentists will advise you on the best way to ensure good oral health, as this will be the first measure to prevent the spread of periodontitis.
Nonsurgical procedures will be used if periodontitis is not too advanced, and will involve the removal of plaque and bacteria below and above the gum line. Rough areas of the gums are smoothed to discourage bacterial growth. Our dentist will assess any pockets that may have developed, and monitor them in the future. We will measure your periodontal pockets to make sure that they are becoming shallower and that the tissue is reattaching to your teeth. Digital x-rays may also be taken so that we can see the condition of your periodontal ligaments and your jawbone.
It is important for a patient suffering from periodontitis to attend their appointments as directed by our dentist. The frequency of periodontal maintenance visits varies from patient to patient. Some require visits as frequently as every two months. Others, however, can go as long as six months between visits, but the average time is usually about every three months. Regular visits will allow our dentists to stay on top of the periodontitis, and perform periodontal maintenance to prevent further gum recession and bone loss. Based on the condition of your mouth, we will determine the frequency that you should have visits to provide you with the best results.
If periodontitis has become too advanced, surgery will need to take place to encourage the regeneration of the gums. This will help strengthen the bone structure of the jaw, and prevent further tooth loss.
Gum Disease Periodontal Maintenance & Care
When one gum disease treatment is not enough to help your gums begin healing, you may be recommended for periodontal maintenance. Periodontal maintenance is a series of regularly scheduled visits for dental examinations and cleanings to help your gums to continue healing following initial treatment, typically scaling and root planing. During periodontal maintenance exams, we take a close look at the condition of your teeth, assessing buildup, and the condition of your gums.
After your teeth and gums have been examined, we then clean the teeth. This involves scraping them with a scaler to remove all buildup that may have accumulated since your last visit. We can effectively remove all debris, bacteria, and plaque, as well as tartar or calcified plaque. The cleanings aid in stabilizing your gums and your teeth as well as in restoring the health of your mouth. Periodontal maintenance can help to restore the health of your gums, enabling them to reattach to your teeth and provide protection for the roots of your teeth once again.
Periodontal care and maintenance also involve aspects of nutrition. Our dentist will provide a nutrition and diet guideline that you need to adhere to. For example, you need to consume a healthy diet containing nutrients, vitamins, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Additionally, you should exercise your body to boost and balance the immune system. If you smoke, we advise and offer you tips on how to quit. This way, your immune system is enhanced, allowing the body to fight infections like gum disease naturally. Something to mention here is that smoking worsens periodontitis, which can contribute to tooth loss. One of our dentists will set up a periodontal maintenance schedule with you to ensure a careful monitoring of your periodontitis and oral health. Our dentists will advise you on the best techniques to brush and floss for cleaning your teeth and removing plaque, as plaque removal is key in preventing the advancement of periodontitis.
San Francisco Dental Arts is serious about periodontitis. To schedule a check up, or to learn more about periodontitis, call us at 415-854-9396.