The American Dental Association describes periodontal maintenance as a "procedure . . . instituted following periodontal therapy (which) continues at varying intervals, determined by the clinical evaluation of the dentist, for the life of the dentition (for the life of the teeth) or any implant . . . (and) includes the removal of plaque and calculus from the supragingival and subgingival regions, (including) site specific scaling and root planing."

 

A periodontal maintenance procedure is not the same treatment as a regular cleaning even though a hygienist may perform both services. A periodontal maintenance procedure, formerly known as supportive periodontal treatment (SPT), includes but is not limited to:

  • An update of your medical and dental history
  • X-ray review
  • Intraoral and extraoral exam of the cheeks, lips, gums and throat
  • Tooth, gum and bone (periodontal probing around the teeth) examination by the dentist (Unlike in your general dentist’s office, the exam fee is included in the periodontal maintenance fee for our office. This helps you get more bang for your insurance buck.)
  • Review of home care
  • Scaling, Root planing and polishing the teeth as needed
  • Gum and pocket irrigation with medicine, as needed

 

The typical maintenance interval, especially immediately right after active periodontal treatment such as scaling and root planing or surgery is every three months. This is usually done at the periodontist’s office for the first few visits to make sure you are periodontally stable. Once we have a good history of stability we like to alternate your 3-month maintenance visits with your general dentist. This allows us and your general dentist to work as a team in maintaining your periodontal health. This recall interval may be lengthened or shortened over time depending on the history of stability and your effectiveness with home care as a patient. The important thing to remember is that once you have been diagnosed and treated for periodontitis you are a periodontal patient for life.

 

A very important scientific study demonstrates the importance of periodontal maintenance. The study had three groups of people; one group who had periodontal disease but received no treatment for the disease; another group who had disease and received treatment but did not follow a maintenance program; and the last group who had the disease, was treated and followed a regular maintenance program. The study found that the first group ended up losing about one tooth every three years, while the second group lost one tooth every five years and in the last group it took about 10 years before a tooth was lost. So as you can see, as in many other chronic conditions, successful long-term control of the disease and prevention of tooth loss depends on a life-time of periodontal maintenance.




 
 
 
 

Polishing

 

Examination

 

Probing

 

Healthy Teeth

 

 
 

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