While there is no cure for periodontal disease, it can be managed or controlled. A periodontal maintenance visit is for patients who have had more extensive periodontal therapy such as scaling and root planing. It is the most conservative approach to prevent more extensive and aggressive treatment.
It is essential to have a maintenance schedule so that the condition of your periodontal tissues can be closely monitored for changes. After completing the active phase of periodontal treatment, you will be provided with a personalized, ongoing maintenance program of care to maintain control of the disease.
The majority of treated periodontal patients require more frequent cleanings (periodontal maintenance cleanings). Since these patients are more susceptible to periodontal disease (bacteria that cause periodontal disease will re-establish three months after treatment), it is recommended that these cleanings occur every three or four months rather than the customary six-month cleanings. Waiting longer than every three or four months for maintenance cleanings may result in advanced inflammation and may require anesthesia to eliminate discomfort during treatment. Very rarely would it be advisable to continue with a six-month recall frequency with a known periodontal history.
During a periodontal maintenance visit, the hygienist will access deeper pocket areas and disrupt the bacteria so that they don’t continue to multiply, which will help to control pocket depth and prevent further bone loss. Placement of ARESTIN® into infected pockets is also beneficial for reducing pocket depth.
A periodontal maintenance care visit includes, but may not be limited to:
- A discussion of any changes in your health history
- X-ray film studies to evaluate your teeth and the bone supporting your teeth
- Examination of your mouth tissues for abnormal changes
- Measurement of the depth of pockets around your teeth
- Removal of bacterial plaque and tartar
- Placement of Arestin treatments (localized antibiotic) into specific pockets
- Assessment of your oral hygiene habits and provision of instruction
- Examination of your teeth for decay and other dental problems
- When appropriate, a diagnosis of having to re-treat the teeth with scaling and
root planing will be made.
Importance of Controlling Periodontal Disease
It is important to remember that periodontal disease cannot be cured; it can only be controlled. This is why we need to examine the health of your gums at least every three or four months. If periodontal disease is not closely monitored and controlled, this disease can quickly worsen, destroy bone and soft tissue, and eventually cause tooth loss. Despite our best efforts to treat and control periodontal disease, in some cases it may not be enough. Based on the desired response of treatment and patient follow-up with homecare and maintenance appointments, you still may need to be referred to a periodontist (gum specialist) as the next course of treatment.
For more information concerning periodontal (gum) disease and its treatment, go to https://www.perio.org/consumer/patient-resources (The American Academy of Periodontology)