Congratulations! You’ve already taken the first step towards good oral health by pursuing active periodontal therapy. You’re already beginning to enjoy some of the benefits of treatment – a healthy mouth, a happy smile and an overall healthier you. Now that you’ve made the commitment to good oral health, it’s important for you to protect it. Without careful ongoing monitoring and treatment periodontal disease can recur.
How do I protect my oral health?
Once you’ve been diagnosed with and treated for periodontal disease, regular periodontal maintenance enables you to gain control of the disease and increase your chances of keeping your natural teeth. Periodontal maintenance is a specialized treatment to protect your gums and the bone that supports your teeth. This treatment is in conjunction with the traditional six-month dental cleanings from your general dentist, which also help to protect the health of your teeth.
During a periodontal maintenance visit, Dr. Bishop updates your dental and medical histories to note any factors that may influence your teeth and gums. In addition to a dental examination, a thorough periodontal evaluation is performed, which includes an assessment of your probing depth, oral cancer screening, and occasional x-rays to evaluate the bone supporting your teeth. Plaque and calculus are then removed from above and below the gum line, and Dr. Bishop will review your at-home oral hygiene routine. If new or recurrent periodontal disease is identified, additional treatment may be recommended.
How will I benefit from Periodontal Maintenance?
Periodontal disease is similar to other chronic diseases, such as diabetes; the key to control is early diagnosis, prompt expert treatment and long term maintenance. Periodontal maintenance is a way for you to protect your oral health by helping to prevent or minimize the recurrence and progression of periodontal disease. Careful monitoring increases the likelihood of locating and treating recurrent or new disease activity in the timely manner-before tooth-threatening bone loss becomes uncontrollable.
Protecting your periodontal health brings a lifetime of benefits. You keep dental costs down by preventing future visits. You smile, speak, and eat with comfort and confidence. More importantly, research has linked periodontal disease to other health problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, arthritis and even preterm births. As research continues to define how periodontal disease is linked to these and other health problems, oral maintenance is essential. As you can see, gum disease is more than just gums; a commitment to oral maintenance is a commitment to better health.
How often do I need periodontal treatment?
The answer to this question varies from person to person. Dr. Bishop will work with you to create a schedule that best protects your oral health. Generally, the intervals between periodontal maintenance visits are every three months. Occasionally less frequent maintenance such as every four to six months may suffice. The frequency is influenced by:
- Severity of periodontal disease
- Severity of bone loss
- At-home oral hygiene
- Overall general health
- Risk factors such as genetics or tobacco use
At each periodontal maintenance visit, Dr. Bishop will monitor your disease stability and treatment effectiveness, and may recommend an increase or decrease in the frequency.