Periodontal Maintenance is the name given to the ongoing therapy provided four times a year by your dental hygienist if you have been diagnosed with and treated for periodontal disease. It is a way to “maintain” the disease to keep it from getting worse.
Periodontal disease is a progressive disease which produces many ill effects on one’s overall health and causes tooth decay and tooth loss. It is caused by a few strains of particularly damaging bacteria that can never be completely eliminated from the oral environment. The aim of periodontal therapy is to substantially reduce the numbers of these bacteria in the patient’s mouth. This can essentially halt the disease’s progression and reverse many of its damaging effects. However, we know that the bacteria effectively repopulates in about ninety days. So to achieve long-term control of the disease, periodontal patients must be seen by their hygienist every three months.
Periodontal maintenance visits seem to the patient very much like a regular cleaning that just takes a little longer. In some ways they are much like a regular cleaning. But with periodontal patients, much greater detail is required, and much greater attention is paid to specific areas below the gumline where disease reactivation is a high risk.