Periodontal disease is a chronic ongoing condition like diabetes. Once active periodontal treatment is completed, it is vital to establish a continuing program of oversight and maintenance to maintain your periodontal health.
Daily oral hygiene will not guarantee that bacterial plaque will not return to do damage to your gums and the bone structure of your teeth. The best regimen of flossing and brushing may not prevent dental plaque from maturing in the hard-to-reach areas of your mouth. This degenerative process can happen in as little as eight to twelve weeks. This is why many of our patients establish a quarterly periodontal health maintenance schedule.
The two most predictable methods to ensure the long-term success of your periodontal therapy are effective oral hygiene and regular periodontal health maintenance visits.
Your periodontal health maintenance visit will include:
Discussing any changes in your health history
Examining your mouth tissues for abnormal changes
Measuring the depth of pockets around your teeth
Assessing your oral hygiene habits and providing instructions
Cleaning your teeth to remove bacterial plaque and calculus (tartar)
Taking necessary x-rays to evaluate the teeth and the bone supporting the teeth
Examining your teeth for decay and other dental problems
Checking the way your teeth fit together when you bite
Applying or prescribing medications to reduce tooth sensitivity or other problems
This decision is based on your individual periodontal condition. The interval between maintenance visits varies from every few weeks to every six months. Each patient’s situation is unique. The frequency of maintenance visits will be influenced by:
types of periodontal diseases
types of periodontal treatment
patient responses to treatment
rates of plaque growth
Last, but certainly not least, the frequency of your maintenance visits will be influenced by your personal commitment to good oral care at home.
Without question! Maintenance visits help protect your periodontal health and prevent future dental problems. By treating disease in the early stages, you save dollars – and discomfort – in the long run. Simply put, a maintenance visit is a wise investment in your dental health. If you have dental benefits, it may pay for just one dental examination every six months. Because you are susceptible to periodontal disease, you may need to be seen more often. So, you may need to cover the cost personally for some of your maintenance visits. Studies have shown that as compliance with periodontal health maintenance appointments increases, tooth and bone loss decreases.
What is the relationship between my general dentist and periodontist?
Your periodontist, general dentist, and dental hygienist form a team to provide the best possible dental care and maintenance program for your needs. Drs. Langston and Kashlan will see you periodically for periodontal maintenance therapy, and you will need to see your general dentist as well. Why? Because periodontal maintenance treatments are not meant to take the place of regular dental check-ups. Remember that your general dentist is primarily responsible for your overall dental health. Your general dentist will examine for – and repair – carious lesions (dental decay), change fillings, make new crowns or bridges, perform cosmetic dentistry, and whiten or bleach your teeth. Your general dentist will make appropriate referrals to other dental specialists when needed, and in general, guide your overall dental needs. This alternating periodontal health maintenance regimen gives you the best of both worlds.