Periodontal Maintenance & Therapy
At first glance, all dental cleanings may look the same to a visiting patient. While all cleaning methods do share a common goal of eliminating plaque, preventing decay, and promoting the best oral health possible, the process & tools through which we accomplish this can vary under differing circumstances. Several factors affect which approach we use on a case-by-case basis. For patients suffering from or in danger of developing periodontal disease, a standard cleaning is unfortunately not sufficient.
Regular dental maintenance can only go so far sometimes, when dealing with more advanced dangers & threats to your oral health. For this reason, we at North Hills Dental wish to make sure you understand the differences between regular vs. periodontal dental care and have the necessary information. If you or a loved one are suffering from or in danger of developing periodontal disease and wish to make an appointment or ask questions, call (503) 567-4121.
What is Regular Dental Maintenance?
Prophylaxis, commonly called a professional dental cleaning, is considered a strictly preventative procedure by your insurance carrier included with every standard six month oral check-up. It’s essential to keep your smile beautiful and healthy as well as pinpointing any signs of potential issues before they have a chance to progress and become worse or possibly irreversible.
Regular cleanings are recommended for all patients who’ve yet to develop bone loss, periodontal disease, severe decay, or infections around the teeth or inside the mouth. A healthy smile should have no bleeding, movement of teeth, receded areas, or gaps where spaces around your teeth’s roots are exposed. Basically, your mouth should have no gum or bone abnormalities. Prophylaxis cleanings remove soft plaque, tartar, and stains from teeth above or slightly below your gum-line.
These treatments are usually done two-three times a year, depending on how quickly stains, plaque, and tartar build-up. They prioritize flossing, polishing each tooth, and removing plaque, bacteria, or other unwanted substances from your teeth. In the majority of cases, the leading cause of many dental health issues is tarter, which forms from deposits building on your teeth and under the gum-line.
Of course, everyone should ideally keep tartar from accumulating in the first place by brushing & flossing at least twice every day (once in the morning and once at night before bed). Some deposits will inevitably be more stubborn than others, however, requiring more attention with greater cleaning methods.
What is Periodontal Maintenance?
Tartar that goes unremoved from prophylaxis may accumulate and spread beneath your gum-line, which then advances to periodontal disease and can lead to tooth or bone loss. There is also shown in worse cases to be a clear relationship between chronic inflammation in the gums and overall health, specifically a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes.
If you already have periodontal disease or know someone who does, you might have heard of or received a special cleaning known as “scaling and root planing” or undergone periodontal surgery. Procedures recommended beyond those treatments are what we in dentistry called “periodontal maintenance care.”
Essentially, the term involves a cleaning that is deeper and more thorough than a standard prophylaxis cleaning. Patients with a history of periodontal disease require these deeper treatments due to the formation of periodontal “pockets” (spaces between your teeth and gums where plaque and tartar form). Bleeding gums, exposed root surfaces, bone or tooth loss, and gum pockets deeper than 4 millimeters are all indicators of a case where a regular cleaning won’t be enough to alleviate the problem.
In these cases, periodontal maintenance scaling is necessary to correct and maintain gum & bone health. If bacteria are left in your mouth and allowed to run rampant, it can result in inflammation, infections, and contribute to other health problems. This level of treatment is more intense and extensive than prophylaxis, requiring you to visit more often than every six months.
A periodontal cleaning will consist of removing plaque and tartar from above and below the gum-line, down the entire length of every tooth to where the root, gum, and bone meet. Rougher root areas are smoothed if needed, followed by pocket depths being closely monitored and inflamed pockets irrigated via antibacterial medication if necessary.
We know this seems like an overwhelming and intimidating amount of information, but not to worry! If you are prescribed to need periodontal maintenance, rest assured that our team works to make every patient comfortable during the procedure. Dr. Rowley will also be there to discuss appropriate anesthetic options with you and determine how many visits should be scheduled. Whatever your treatment plan may be, you will receive the highest quality care.
Remember, to contact North Hills Dental and schedule a visit, call (503) 567-4121.