Periodontal maintenance is a critical part of life for anyone who has undergone any sort of periodontal treatment or who has been diagnosed with periodontal gum disease. Proper periodontal maintenance plays a critical role in maintaining optimal treatment outcomes and also in extending the longevity of said results.
Periodontal maintenance is necessary for anyone who suffers from periodontitis, a lifelong incurable bacterial infection of the gums. Periodontal maintenance is used to keep the disease under control.
What is Periodontal Maintenance?
Periodontal maintenance is provided every three months. The rationale behind the three-month routine is based on scientific fact and bacterial rationale. Research has shown that when biofilm is not adequately disrupted or eliminated, that periodontal pathogens then have the opportunity to buildup and eventually become the dominating species of bacteria present in the mouth within a 12-week period. For this reason, every 12 weeks (or three months) periodontal maintenance is required to prevent the perio bugs from aggregating in a destructive manner.
Experts claim that patients who have undergone any sort of periodontal treatment (be it non-surgical or surgical) and who neglect to have ongoing periodontal maintenance care are more likely to lose two to three times the number of teeth than those who practices active periodontal maintenance.
Who Needs Periodontal Maintenance?
Periodontal maintenance is not needed by everyone. Only those who have been diagnosed with periodontal disease that has led to gum “pockets” deeper than 4 mm, bone loss, exposed root surfaces, or bleeding gums; or for those who have undergone periodontal surgery to treat periodontal disease, need periodontal maintenance. For many of these individuals, regular cleaning practices are not enough to halt the effects of the disease or to maintain good oral health. Instead, periodontal maintenance such as scaling, is needed in order to maintain gum health and promote bone health.
Periodontal maintenance techniques will remove tartar and plaque from not only above the gum line, but also below. These techniques focus on removing buildup from the top of the tooth, all the way down to where the base of the root meets the jawbone. Periodontal maintenance also involves smoothing rough surfaces and closely monitoring the depth of pockets. If your periodontist sees an irritated pocket, he may irrigate the surface with a special antibacterial medicine.
Anyone suffering from periodontal disease should take care to undergo periodontal maintenance at least 3 to 4 times a year. How often maintenance is required is highly dependent on the specific condition; where you can expect that those who have rapid plaque and tartar accumulation or whose gums become inflamed and bleed often, will require more maintenance than others.
Is Periodontal Maintenance Expensive?
Periodontal maintenance is considered to be a “basic service” by most all insurance carriers. That means that once you have met your annual deductible you can expect to not have to pay for periodontal maintenance services out of pocket.