Periodontal Maintenance: What It Is and Why It Matters

What Is Periodontal Maintenance?

Periodontal maintenance is a professional dental cleaning procedure designed to remove the bacteria, plaque, and tartar buildup that can cause or worsen periodontal disease. It’s an essential treatment for people who have already undergone periodontal therapy and have a history of gum disease.

Periodontal maintenance appointments are typically scheduled every three to four months, depending on the patient’s condition and the recommendation of their dentist or periodontist.

patient showing red, bleeding gums

The Benefits of Periodontal Maintenance

There are many benefits to periodontal maintenance, including:

  • Prevents periodontal disease from progressing: This type of dental cleaning helps remove bacteria and plaque buildup, preventing periodontal disease from worsening.
  • Prevents tooth loss: Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Regular periodontal cleaning appointments can help prevent this from happening.
  • Maintains oral health: Periodontal maintenance helps keep your teeth and gums healthy and can prevent other oral health problems, such as cavities and bad breath.
  • Helps detect other health problems: Your dentist or periodontist may be able to detect other health problems during your periodontal cleaning appointments, such as diabetes or heart disease.

Who Needs Periodontal Maintenance?

Anyone who has had periodontal disease in the past and has undergone periodontal therapy is a candidate for periodontal maintenance. Additionally, you may also benefit from this type of dental cleaning if you:

  • Have a family history of gum disease
  • Smoke
  • Have diabetes
  • Are pregnant and may be at a higher risk for gum disease

The Periodontal Maintenance Process

The periodontal maintenance process typically involves a thorough cleaning of the teeth and gums. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Evaluation: Your dentist or periodontist will evaluate your gum health and determine if further treatment is needed.
  • Scaling and Root Planing: If necessary, your dental hygienist will perform scaling and root planing, also known as a deep cleaning, which involves removing plaque and tartar buildup from the teeth and smoothing out the tooth roots to prevent bacteria from sticking to them.
  • Polishing: After scaling and root planing, your dental hygienist will polish your teeth to remove any remaining stains or plaque.
  • Oral Hygiene Education: Your dental hygienist will provide oral hygiene education and tips to help you maintain good oral health at home.
  • Follow-up: Your dentist or periodontist will schedule your next appointment for periodontal maintenance, typically three to four months later.

The Cost of Periodontal Cleanings

The cost of periodontal cleanings varies depending on the location, the dentist or periodontist, and your insurance coverage. In general, it’s more expensive than a regular dental cleaning, but most dental insurance plans cover all or a portion of the costs. Patients should check with their insurance provider to confirm coverage and out-of-pocket costs. Ask your dentist if they have any special discounts or provide financing options.

How to Maintain Healthy Gums at Home

To help keep periodontal disease from recurring, our Seattle dentist has provided tips on how to maintain healthy gums at home:

  • Brush and floss teeth regularly
  • Use mouthwash
  • Quit smoking
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet
  • Stay hydrated
  • Keep up with a routine dental cleaning schedule

Frequently Asked Questions

How often do I need periodontal maintenance?
Is periodontal maintenance painful?
Can periodontal maintenance cure gum disease?
How can I prevent periodontal disease from developing?
How often do I need periodontal maintenance?

Periodontal maintenance appointments are typically scheduled every three to four months, depending on the recommendation of your dentist or periodontist and your individual needs.

Is periodontal maintenance painful?

Periodontal maintenance isn’t usually painful. Some patients may experience mild discomfort during the cleaning process. Your dental hygienist can use numbing agents or adjust the cleaning technique to make you more comfortable.

Can periodontal maintenance cure gum disease?

Periodontal maintenance isn’t a cure for gum disease, but it can help manage and control the progression of the disease. Consistent and proper oral hygiene habits, along with regular periodontal maintenance appointments, can help keep periodontal disease under control.

How can I prevent periodontal disease from developing?

You can prevent periodontal disease by practicing good oral hygiene habits, including brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and using mouthwash. Additionally, you should avoid smoking or using tobacco products, maintain a healthy diet, and visit your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.

Protect Your Gums With Periodontal Maintenance

Periodontal maintenance is a critical preventive treatment that can help patients manage and control the progression of periodontal disease. You should schedule a periodontal maintenance appointment if you have a history of gum disease or are at risk for developing gum disease. Our Seattle dentist is willing to help you get the dental care you need. Contact us today to get your appointment scheduled.