The Importance of your Periodontal Maintenance following Gum Disease

Charting.jpg

We get questions about periodontal maintenance cleanings all the time.  See some of the information we give our patients on their visit following their deep cleaning with us.

You recently were seen for a treatment for Gum Disease.  Your case may have been mild or severe and the treatment is generally a Deep Cleaning, also termed a “Scaling and Root Planning.”  This may have been done on half of the mouth in one day, the other half another, the entire mouth could have been treated in one appointment, or select teeth only treated.  The clinical situation varies from patient to patient.

 

In most cases, from this point forward you no longer can receive a “regular” cleaning.  Your hygiene recare visits are for what is called a “periodontal maintenance” (called a “perio-maintenance” for short).  Following a deep cleaning most patients are seen regularly at the 3 months interval.  Not doing so can compromise the success of your treatment in the long term.

 

Once your gum disease is arrested a 6mo interval may be established but it is important to have a close eye on a patient with a history of gum disease to confirm it is arrested.

 

Some ways to ensure success of your treatment are to maintain the 3mo maintenance appointment, invest in an electric toothbrush and/or waterflosser, receive a fluoride application at your maintenance appointment, continue to use your medicated rinse.

 

We need to see a patient that has had gum disease and a deep cleaning every 3 months as after a deep cleaning the deep pockets are debrided and disinfected and the now healthy connective tissue can become reinfected in 12 weeks.  This is why we can’t have you wait any longer than 3 months!

 

A periodontal maintenance cleaning is more involved.  The areas where deep pockets persist are given extra care and we may choose to irrigate the tissues again.  The part above the gumline is mostly treated in a regular cleaning with little attention to under the gums.  A periodontal maintenance cleaning involves more care under the gum line, more care to the exposed root surface, the surface that was exposed from connective tissue loss that is irreversible.

 

Unfortunately, every insurance benefit plan is different and there is generally some out of pocket expense for this treatment.  There may be a frequency you are subject to, there may be a deductible, it may be covered only at a certain percentage making a small portion your patient responsibility. It is a small price to pay for investing in the health of your teeth and gums. A small price to pay to work towards keeping your teeth for years to come!