What They Don’t Tell You About Periodontal Maintenance

Jun 01, 2020

To understand periodontal maintenance, you need to also understand the periodontal disease. What is periodontal disease? Periodontal disease, otherwise known as gum disease, is a bacterial infection of the bone supporting your teeth and the gums. This infection is persistent. Any of these signs may indicate you have the disease:

  • Gums that are red, tender and swollen
  • Bleeding of gums after flossing or brushing
  • Bad breath that is persistent
  • Experiencing pain during chewing
  • Loose teeth

There are many factors that may cause gum disease, including genetics, diabetes, smoking and hormonal changes. Our specialists at Back Bay Dentistry can carry out quick tests to determine whether you have gum disease. They do this by measuring the gum pockets. If your pockets are at least 5mm deep, then you have the infection.

If you are found to have the disease, your teeth may be thoroughly cleaned. Alternatively, you may undergo periodontal surgery. After these treatments, your doctor may recommend periodontal maintenance.

Periodontal maintenance refers to a procedure carried out to clean your teeth thoroughly. Maintenance is crucial as it prevents periodontal disease from spreading. Bacteria produced by plaque may colonize on the gum tissue resulting in gingivitis and periodontal disease. The colonies cause irritation and inflammation, which create an inflammatory response inside the body.

Consequently, the body starts destroying bone and gum tissue causing the teeth to fall out, shift or become unstable. The voids between the teeth and gums deepen, and more bacteria accumulate inside. The bacteria travel through the bloodstream, causing infections to other body parts.

Why Is Periodontal Maintenance Important?

The prophylaxis procedure helps keep your mouth in excellent health. It also stops gum disease from progressing. Here are some reasons to have it:

  • Removal of Tar

If left unattended to, plaque and tar buildup can cause bigger periodontal problems in future. Flossing and brushing your teeth doesn’t remove all bacteria, debris and the deposits from your gum pockets. It takes a good dentist and high-quality dental equipment to identify and treat dental issues like plaque buildup and tartar.

  • Aesthetics

Yellow discolored teeth can lower your self-esteem. Proper teeth maintenance will get rid of the ugly stains and give you back your beautiful, healthy smile.

  • Fresh Breath

Periodontal disease is characterized by bad breath. Generally, bad breath is caused by periodontal problems, rotting food beneath the gum line and gangrene resulting from gum infections. Removal of calculus, bacteria and plaque thus improves your breath.

  • Identifying Health Issues

Since the dentist thoroughly examines your entire mouth during prophylaxis, oral cancer screening can be done. The dentist can also evaluate risks associated with periodontitis and look for signs of kidney diseases and diabetes, among others.

What It Involves

Your dentist can carry out prophylaxis on you during your regular visits. In the case of severe periodontal disease, general anesthetic may be used to ensure the patient is calm and relaxed. Sometimes, the specialist may place a unique tube in your throat to protect your lungs from bacteria that may come from your mouth.

The treatment is carried out in stages:

  • Supragingival Cleaning: The region above your gum line is thoroughly cleaned by your dentist to get rid of calculus and plaque. Scaling tools are used in this stage.
  • Subgingival Cleaning: For most periodontal disease patients, this is a vital stage. It involves removing bacteria and calculus below your gum line and from gum pockets.
  • Root Planing: In this stage, the dentist smoothens the root of your tooth to remove any bacteria that may be left. These are hazardous bacteria, so getting rid of them is your specialist’s top priority.
  • Medication: After both root planing and scaling have been carried out, your doctor may place an antimicrobial or antibiotic cream in your gum pockets. These treatments promote healthy and fast healing. They also ease discomfort.
  • X-rays and Examinations: Routine x-rays help the dentist see the progression of gum and bone recession.

It is good to visit your dentist at least thrice a year for periodontal maintenance. Studies indicate that after cleaning, bacteria will form on the gums and teeth almost immediately. Removing the bacteria beneath the gum line frequently can help control inflammation. Though it is not possible to completely reverse gum disease, periodontal maintenance can be used to halt its progress. Visit us today and meet Dr Steven K. Miner, our experienced specialist.