Your teeth are certainly an important part of your overall oral health, but the health of the bones and gums that surround and support your teeth are equally vital. Allow Lincoln Smiles to explain what periodontal maintenance is and what to expect during the periodontal maintenance process.
Why Do I Need Periodontal Maintenance?
Periodontal maintenance is the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of conditions specific to the support system surrounding your teeth, which includes the root, gum, and bone. While regular dental cleanings are often enough to maintain a healthy mouth, sometimes a deeper, more thorough cleaning is needed.
Because poor oral hygiene can lead to gingivitis, or gum disease, which in turn can cause or worsen numerous other health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, regular cleanings are crucial. If too much plaque and tarter accumulate, our periodontist will perform a deeper cleaning to remove the buildup above and below the gumline, and down the length of each tooth to the root and bone.
If the buildup is not removed, the little pockets between the tooth and gums, called the sulcus, expand and grow deeper. As the pockets fill with bacteria and pus, it can cause gum disease where the gums become irritated, inflamed, and tend to bleed easily. Left untreated, gum disease progresses and causes increased irritation, inflammation, and bleeding in the gums, bone loss, and weakened periodontal fibers, which leads to loose teeth or even tooth loss, receding gums, and halitosis.
What Can I Expect During Periodontal Maintenance?
During your exam, our periodontist will review your complete medical and dental histories, including any prescribed or over-the-counter medications you take, as certain health conditions and medications can affect not only the health of your mouth and teeth, but also how we provide your oral care.
We will examine you for receding gums, check for any loose teeth, and assess how your teeth fit together when you bite down. Using a small probe, we will measure the depth of your pockets to determine how healthy your gums are. Often, x-rays are required to get a better look at the roots and bone below the gumline.
Our periodontist provides a careful, thorough cleaning of the infected area to remove plaque and tarter all the way down to the roots. We will also smooth any exposed root surfaces, and you may receive an antibiotic if necessary.
Periodontal maintenance is generally performed 3 or 4 times every year, although your own personal needs may require more or less frequent visits. We will work with you to develop a plan aimed at your specific needs depending on the amount of inflammation and bleeding, the size of and damage to the pockets, and any other relevant health factors.
Periodontal maintenance can be a vital part of your oral health care in order to identify and treat problems earlier rather than later, ultimately reducing time, cost, and discomfort in the long run. Don’t neglect your oral hygiene. Call Lincoln Smiles at 916-543-8800 today to schedule your periodontal maintenance appointment.