What is periodontal maintenance?
How is it different from a regular cleaning?
Once you have been seen in our office for a deep cleaning (scaling and root planing), you will need to follow the instructions of the hygienist for your home care routine, but also visit us on a bit more frequent schedule than before your deep cleaning. The reason for this is because the bacteria present in active gum disease, periodontitis, takes about 90 days on average to repopulate in the mouth once it has been disrupted by the cleaning process that you have just completed.
A periodontal maintenance cleaning may feel similar to the regular cleanings you received in the past but differently from those, at these visits, our hygienists are not only removing plaque and debris from the surface of teeth above the gum line, but they are also removing bacterial plaque and calculus from below the gum line as well. They will most likely use an ultrasonic scaler that sprays water and helps to disrupt the bacteria more effectively, and a periodontal laser treatment called LBR (laser bacterial reduction). You can also expect to have periodontal probing readings updated at these cleanings as well as having any necessary x-rays or photographs taken and reviewed. A periodontal maintenance cleaning is therapeutic in nature while a regular cleaning, or prophylaxis, is preventative in nature.