According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 64.7 million Americans over the age of 30 suffer from some form of periodontal disease.
Periodontitis refers to the inflammation of the gums and is a chronic disease that has very damaging effects on the gums and the supporting bone structure of the teeth. If treatment is not received, the disease can result in tooth loss. Moreover, the infection can spread to other parts of your body through the bloodstream. Conditions like heart disease and diabetes have also been linked to periodontitis.
Since many times, the disease is not associated with pain, and you may not be aware you have periodontal disease. This is why we strongly recommend visiting Sabeti Cosmetic Dentistry every six months and getting your oral health checked by Dr. Shohreh Sabeti.
Difference Between Regular Dental Cleaning and Periodontal Maintenance?
Most people who have relatively good oral health and do not suffer from inflamed and receded gums, bleeding, bone loss or infection around the teeth should make their six-monthly appointment at Sabeti Cosmetic Dentistry.
For those people, we will conduct a general oral exam, scrape off the soft plaque on their teeth, remove stains from the teeth, and clean the area just slightly below the gumline.
A regular periodontal cleaning, called prophylaxis, is typically performed twice a year and is considered a preventive procedure.
However, periodontal maintenance is an active treatment of gum disease and is performed after you have been treated for periodontitis. Periodontal maintenance involves a deeper cleaning than is provided during prophylaxis or basic dental cleaning. This is because deep pockets have formed between the gums and teeth, and have become filled with tartar and bacterial infection.
If your gum pockets have reached a depth of more than 4 millimeters, basic supragingival cleaning will not be enough. To get at the deeply embedded bacteria, you will need to deep clean the pockets by removing plaque and calculus from deep beneath the gum line down to the length of the tooth where the gum, tooth root, and bone meet.
Since it is not easy to access the deep spread of plaque, we may recommend a gum flap surgery. This involves cutting and pulling away from a section of your gum like a flap, cleaning the calculus in the exposed area, and then suturing the gums back into place.
Although more comprehensive than your regular dental cleaning, periodontal maintenance is crucial for maintaining gum and bone health.
Periodontal maintenance is done more frequently than a regular cleaning, typically every two to four months, depending on the extent of the disease.
Why Does Periodontal Maintenance Require More Frequent Visits?
Although there is no cure for periodontitis, with proper care, it can be controlled. A two-to-four month interval is not arbitrary. Instead, it is based on sound logic.
The bacteria that cause periodontal disease can reappear and start colonizing about two to three months after treatment. Waiting for more than three months can cause a reemergence of inflammation and risking breakdown of the soft and hard tissues of the mouth. Therefore, a periodontal maintenance appointment needs to be critically timed to avoid the bacteria causing the most harm to support tissues.
Research has shown that those patients who undergo periodontal treatment, but do not have periodontal maintenance at proper intervals, lose twice or three times as many teeth and have active periodontal therapy twice as frequently as those who follow regular maintenance.
Although periodontal maintenance is more expensive than dental cleaning, it is the only minimally-invasive, non-aggressive way to treat periodontal disease. Left to its own devices, the disease can cause serious general health issues, including stroke, heart attack, uncontrolled diabetes, osteoporosis, preterm birth, and low birth weight.
If you suspect you have periodontal disease, schedule an appointment with us by calling us at (310) 707-1577 today. Bear in mind that periodontal disease cannot be cured, only managed. If you delay treatment, you may end up losing your teeth.