At Riverstone Family Dentistry there are times when we may recommend periodontal maintenance. This is a term that many patients are unfamiliar with but that you should take the time to understand, especially if we recommend this procedure to you.
Why you may Need Periodontal Maintenance
Anyone susceptible to periodontal (a.k.a. gum) disease will need maintenance care. This is because bacteria from plaque produces toxins. You can think of these as poisons because they continually attack your teeth and their surrounding gums. If you don't remove this, it'll harden, turning into tartar (a.k.a. calculus) - a rough, porous deposit on your teeth.
During periodontal maintenance, this is removed because you're receiving a much deeper cleaning than you would receive with normal dental cleaning. Once you've had this type of cleaning, you'll probably need to have it again because you'll develop "pockets" around your teeth. If you're one of these patients, you should also visit your dentist more frequently than the typical every six months that most patients require.
Periodontal Maintenance vs. Teeth Cleaning
Periodontal maintenance is a type of deep teeth cleaning that's sometimes referred to as "scaling and root planning." Here the pockets between your teeth and gums (where plaque and tartar commonly form) are cleaned. With this type of intensive cleaning, your gum and bone health will be restored and maintained. This is different from regular cleaning because you won't have your teeth polished. Instead, we simply concentrate on removing the bacteria, tartar, and other debris from under your gum line.
What Periodontal Maintenance Includes
During your regular cleanings, we'll use a special tool to measure your dental pockets. When they become too deep, you must come to our office for periodontal maintenance. At this time, you'll receive a Periodontal Prophylaxis (a.k.a. teeth cleaning) which is a very thorough procedure that clears away any plaque, tartar, and other bacteria that's in these pockets so they can heal.
This is important because brushing, flossing and a regular dental cleaning won't get rid of these things for you. The length of the entire procedure depends on how much plaque and tartar we need to remove. Sometimes this will only take a single, 90-minute appointment, but at other times it'll require two appointments that are spaced a few weeks apart.
Healing After Periodontal Maintenance
After you receive a deep cleaning, it'll take your gums about a week to heal. Once this happens, you'll notice that your gums are less red, bloody, and swollen. You will need to return to our office in 6 weeks so we can measure your gum pockets to make sure that they are indeed healthier. We'll also take note of whether your gum tissue has regrown. It's important to understand that bone that's lost won't regenerate though.
We want you to see that periodontal maintenance isn't something that you should be afraid of. If you need this procedure, give Riverstone Family Dentistry a call at (360) 326-1443 to set up an appointment to discuss it in detail today.