Periodontal Maintenance

Periodontal maintenance is a specialized dental procedure performed to manage and maintain the health of the gums and supporting structures of the teeth after the treatment of gum disease (periodontal disease). It is an essential part of periodontal therapy and is designed to prevent the recurrence of gum disease and maintain the results of previous treatment.

What does periodontal maintenance entail?

  1. Follow-up Care: After undergoing treatment for gum disease, such as scaling and root planing (deep cleaning) or periodontal surgery, you will require ongoing care to manage your condition and prevent its progression. Periodontal maintenance involves regular follow-up appointments with the dental hygienist to monitor the health of the gums and provide preventive care.

  2. Frequency: The frequency of periodontal maintenance appointments may vary depending on the severity of the gum disease and your response to treatment. In general, periodontal maintenance visits are scheduled every three to four months, although some patients may require more frequent appointments.

  3. Comprehensive Examination: During each periodontal maintenance visit, the dental hygienist performs a comprehensive examination of the gums, teeth, and supporting structures to assess their health and detect any signs of disease or inflammation. This may include measuring the depth of periodontal pockets, evaluating gum recession, checking for bleeding or swelling, and examining the stability of the teeth.

  4. Professional Cleaning: Periodontal maintenance includes thorough cleaning of the teeth and gums to remove plaque, tartar (calculus), and bacteria that can contribute to gum disease. This may involve scaling and root planing to remove plaque and tartar from below the gumline, as well as polishing to smooth the tooth surfaces and reduce bacterial buildup.

  5. Gum Disease Management: If signs of gum disease are detected during a periodontal maintenance visit, additional treatment may be necessary to manage the condition and prevent its progression. This may include localized antibiotic therapy, periodontal surgery, or other interventions to address specific areas of concern.

  6. Home Care Instructions: Patients receiving periodontal maintenance are also provided with personalized oral hygiene instructions and recommendations for home care. This may include proper brushing and flossing techniques, the use of antimicrobial mouth rinses, and tips for maintaining good oral health habits between appointments.

Overall, periodontal maintenance plays a critical role in managing gum disease and preserving the health of the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. Regular follow-up appointments, combined with good oral hygiene habits at home, can help prevent the recurrence of gum disease and maintain a healthy smile for years to come. It is important to follow the recommendations of Dr. Lemons and your dental hygienist and attend scheduled periodontal maintenance visits as directed to optimize the outcomes of treatment.

Why can't I have a regular cleaning?

Periodontal maintenance is a specialized form of dental cleaning designed for individuals who have been diagnosed with periodontal disease or have a history of gum disease. Unlike a regular dental cleaning (prophylaxis), which is typically performed every six months for individuals with healthy gums, periodontal maintenance is necessary for those with gum disease because it targets the buildup of plaque and tartar below the gumline, where regular cleanings cannot reach.

Here's why periodontal maintenance is necessary and why a regular cleaning may not suffice:

  1. Management of gum disease: Periodontal maintenance is essential for managing and controlling gum disease. Individuals with periodontitis (advanced gum disease) have deeper pockets between the gums and teeth, which can harbor bacteria and plaque. Periodontal maintenance removes this buildup and helps prevent further progression of the disease.

  2. Removal of plaque and tartar buildup: Periodontal maintenance involves a thorough cleaning of the teeth and gums, including scaling and root planing to remove plaque and tartar from below the gumline. This is crucial for reducing inflammation, preventing infection, and promoting gum tissue healing.

  3. Monitoring gum health: During periodontal maintenance visits, Dr. Lemons or your dental hygienist will monitor the health of your gums, measuring pocket depths and assessing any signs of gum disease progression. This allows for early detection of any changes or issues that may require additional treatment.

  4. Preventing tooth and bone loss: Untreated gum disease can lead to tooth loss and bone deterioration over time. Periodontal maintenance helps prevent these complications by effectively managing gum disease and promoting oral health.

  5. Customized treatment: Periodontal maintenance is tailored to each individual's specific needs based on the severity of their gum disease and response to treatment. It may involve more frequent cleanings and monitoring to maintain gum health and prevent the recurrence of the disease.

In summary, periodontal maintenance is necessary for individuals with gum disease to manage the condition, prevent complications, and maintain optimal oral health. While regular dental cleanings are essential for individuals with healthy gums, they may not be sufficient for those with periodontal disease, who require specialized care to address the unique challenges associated with gum disease.

What can happen if I don't keep up with my periodontal maintenance?

Skipping or neglecting periodontal maintenance appointments can have several negative consequences for your oral health and overall well-being. Here are some of the risks associated with not attending periodontal maintenance appointments:

  1. Progression of Gum Disease: Periodontal maintenance visits are essential for managing gum disease and preventing its progression. Without regular professional cleanings and monitoring, plaque and tartar buildup can accumulate on your teeth and below the gumline, leading to worsening inflammation, gum recession, and bone loss. Untreated gum disease can eventually result in tooth loss and may increase the risk of systemic health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory infections.

  2. Increased Risk of Tooth Loss: Advanced gum disease (periodontitis) is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults. Without proper treatment and ongoing maintenance, gum disease can cause irreversible damage to your gums, bone, and connective tissues that support your teeth. Over time, untreated gum disease can result in tooth mobility, abscess formation, and eventual tooth loss.

  3. Compromised Oral Health: Neglecting periodontal maintenance appointments can compromise your overall oral health and increase the risk of developing other dental problems such as cavities, tooth decay, and oral infections. Poor oral hygiene and untreated gum disease can also contribute to chronic bad breath (halitosis) and an unpleasant taste in the mouth.

  4. Need for More Invasive Treatment: If gum disease is allowed to progress unchecked, it may require more invasive and costly treatments to manage and address the consequences, such as periodontal surgery, bone grafting, or tooth replacement with dental implants. These procedures may be more complex and less predictable than preventive measures such as regular periodontal maintenance.

  5. Systemic Health Risks: Emerging research suggests that there may be an association between gum disease and certain systemic health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, respiratory infections, and adverse pregnancy outcomes. By neglecting periodontal maintenance appointments and allowing gum disease to persist, you may be putting your overall health at risk.

  6. Financial Costs: Neglecting preventive dental care and allowing gum disease to progress can result in increased dental treatment costs over time. The expenses associated with treating advanced gum disease, replacing missing teeth, and managing associated health problems can be substantial and may require significant financial investment.

Attending regular periodontal maintenance appointments is crucial for managing gum disease, preserving oral health, and preventing complications. It's essential to follow the recommendations of Dr. Lemons and your dental hygienist and attend scheduled appointments to optimize your oral health and overall well-being. If you have concerns about attending periodontal maintenance appointments or need assistance in maintaining good oral hygiene habits, discuss them with Dr. Lemons or your dental hygienist for personalized guidance and support.


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1235 Friendship Road
Suite 200
Braselton, Georgia 30517

Lemons Dental
Phone: (770) 965-2100
1235 Friendship Rd Ste 200
Braselton, GA, 30517