All dental cleanings are not created equally. The most common type of cleaning, and the one that you are most likely familiar with is the routine dental cleanings that are recommended every 6 months. This type of cleaning is also known as a prophylaxis. It is not the only type, however. If you have been diagnosed with gum disease, you may be recommended periodontal maintenance. At Victor Nitu DDS, we perform not only prophylaxis but periodontal maintenance cleanings as well.
Regular dental cleanings, or prophylaxis, are the cleanings you receive twice a year to help you prevent serious oral health problems and maintain a healthy mouth. During these cleanings, plaque and bacteria are removed from your teeth, as is tartar. Tartar is plaque that has become hard, and can only be removed with a professional cleaning. Only the crowns of your teeth are cleaned, including the areas around your gumline.
Why Would I Need Periodontal Maintenance?
Regular cleanings are performed on those who are in generally good dental health. However, a condition known as gum disease can cause significant problems. When you have gum disease, your gum tissue is infected. It can lead to gum recession, loss support around the teeth, and tooth loss.
Gum disease is often classified by having periodontal pockets, or spaces between your gums and teeth, that are 4 millimeters or deeper. These pockets can collect plaque and bacteria, making your mouth more difficult to clean. When your mouth cannot be properly cleaned, gum disease only continues to worsen.
How is Periodontal Maintenance Different than Prophylaxis?
Periodontal maintenance is a type of cleaning. This type of cleaning, however, is meant specifically for those with gum disease. It involves not only cleaning the crowns of the teeth but their roots as well. This type of cleaning takes place after you have undergone an initial treatment for gum diseases, such as scaling and root planing.
The goal of this treatment is to maintain the health of your gums and your bone. This is done by removing buildup from below the gum line, smoothing the surfaces of the teeth. This allows your gums to reattach while improving your oral health. Where prophylaxis is performed every 6 months, periodontal maintenance is performed more frequently.
Will I Always Need Periodontal Maintenance Visits?
Once you have gum disease, you always have it. Periodontal maintenance appointments take the place of regular cleanings. With regular periodontal maintenance, we can help to reduce the depths of your periodontal pockets and improve the health of your gums. As your oral health improves, the frequency of your visits decreases. Eventually, you may even be able to return to having visited every 6 months. However, even these visits will still be considered periodontal maintenance. It is important to keep up with your periodontal maintenance appointments, as they will help keep gum disease at bay, ensuring that your mouth remains as healthy as possible.
With regular periodontal maintenance after a gum disease diagnosis, we can help you to regain a healthier mouth and more beautiful smile. For more information, call Victor Nitu DDS at (480) 536-8228 today.