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What is a periodontal maintenance appointment?

For those who have been treated for gum disease, it will likely be recommended that you come to our office for regular periodontal maintenance appointments. These appointments are typically done 3 to 4 times a year as the 2 to 3 times a year for regular cleanings.

You may wonder what the difference is between these two types of appointments.

The short version is that a professional cleaning, known as prophylaxis, is preventative care. Periodontal maintenance is a treatment.

Prophylaxis is done in cases where the teeth are healthy—there is no bone loss, infection around the teeth, or bleeding. Your dental hygienist will remove soft plaque, tartar, and stains from the portion of your teeth that is above the gum line, and only slightly below.

Those with periodontal disease can have tartar accumulating in gum pockets that extend more than 4mm below the gum line, exposing surfaces of the tooth root. For a periodontal maintenance appointment, your hygienist will remove this tartar and plaque further down to the tooth, to the point where the root, gum, and bone meet. Rough areas of the tooth may be smoothed to help prevent future accumulation of plaque, and, if necessary, the gum pockets may be irrigated with antibacterial medication. During these appointments, the depth of your gum pockets will be checked and recorded.

Periodontal maintenance is important to help continue to keep your gums healthy and prevent periodontal disease from worsening.

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