Following periodontal therapy, you generally will see the hygienist more frequently than twice a year. The goal of these periodontal maintenance visits, in addition to active home care are to:
- Prevent the resurgence of this destructive disease
- Avoid surgical intervention when possible
- Avoid gum, bone and/or tooth loss
- Monitor and maintain gum tissue health
Why is oral hygiene so important?
Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases, (periodontal disease) than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by good homecare, tooth brushing and flossing,techniques performed daily.
Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. By thorough daily brushing and flossing you can remove these germs and help prevent gum disease.
Periodontal diseases can be accelerated by a number of different factors. However, it is mainly caused by the bacteria found in dental plaque, a sticky colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. If not carefully removed by daily brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar).
Other important factors affecting the health of your gums include:
- Clenching and grinding teeth
- Poor nutrition and dietary habits
Bacteria found in plaque produces toxins or poisons that irritate the gums, which may cause them to turn red, swell and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, causing pockets (spaces) to form. As periodontal diseases progress, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorate. If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss.
What to expect at each Periodontal Maintenance visit:
- Periodontal/gum tissue exam ( 6 measurements per tooth)
- Comparison of current measurements to previous recorded measurements
- Exam of hard and soft tissue
- Bacterial plaque will be removed from each pocketed area around your teeth
- Disruption of the colonization of bacteria in your gums
- Slow down or eliminate the toxic bacteria’s destructive effects.
- Sub-gingival (below the gum line) irrigation as needed.
- Review of homecare effectiveness
- Patient education of any changes in your periodontal condition