Periodontal maintenance, also known as Supportive Periodontal Therapy, is designed to help manage and control periodontal disease. This is an ongoing process.
Patients who have periodontal disease are more susceptible to the bacteria in their mouth. The main cause of periodontal disease is bacterial plaque, a sticky, colorless film that is constantly forming on our teeth. The bacteria in our mouth will colonize in the plaque and produce toxins. These toxins attack the teeth and gums, not only causing periodontal problems but also dental decay. Everyone has bacteria in their mouth and must work on removing the plaque with proper home care.
Plaque that isn’t removed can harden and form calculus (tartar), some people form plaque and calculus much faster than others and as stated before, some are much more sensitive to the bacteria that collect in the plaque and calculus. Only a dental hygienist or dentist are able to completely clean out the plaque and calculus. Dr. Anderson evaluates each patient to determine the best schedule for their maintenance appointments. Some factors that determine a patient’s maintenance schedule are, how aggressive their periodontal disease is, how advanced their periodontal disease is, how much build up of plaque and calculus they accumulate and how well they’re able to clean their mouth on a daily basis.
Typically, we recommend that our patients, who’ve been actively treated for periodontal disease, should be on a three-month maintenance schedule and we often alternate that with the general dentist. This allows Dr. Anderson to monitor the periodontal disease and the general dentist to monitor any restorative needs. Some patients are kept on a much closer maintenance schedule to manage more severe cases. Other patients may be on a longer maintenance schedule. Dr. Anderson and your general dentist will work out a schedule that’s most effective for you.
Teeth Cleaning Appointments
The treatment for cleaning teeth is called a dental prophylaxis. This is a very important procedure for slowing down the progression of gingivitis and periodontal disease. The prophylaxis is performed to thoroughly clean the teeth above and below the gum line.
Calculus (often referred to as tartar) and the sticky film called plaque can occur above and below the gum line. This build-up can cause irritation and inflammation, resulting in serious periodontal problems. Even with diligent home care habits, it takes the work of a dental hygienist or dentist to do a thorough cleaning with instruments that reach areas that patients can’t reach in their own mouths.
Patients who have pocket measurements of three or less millimeters are usually well controlled when they are on a regular cleaning schedule with their general dentist. If the general dentist feels that the patient is developing periodontal pockets, the general dentist will usually refer the patient to the periodontist for an evaluation.