Our goal at Boulder Dental Designs is to help you achieve your healthiest smile. Many patients in the United States experience gum disease. The beginning stages of gum disease are reversible with good oral healthcare. This stage is called gingivitis. Our dentists, Dr. Montoya and Dr. Lai, provide periodontal treatment to reverse gingivitis and prevent it from progressing to periodontitis.
WHAT IS PERIODONTAL MAINTENANCE?
Periodontal maintenance is a procedure performed for patients with the initial stage of gum disease, gingivitis. When a patient has gum disease, a pocket forms between the tooth and the gums; plaque and calculus (bacteria) build up in these pockets, worsening the gum disease. During periodontal maintenance, Dr. Montoya or Dr. Lai will remove the plaque and calculus between your teeth and gums to promote healing.
HOW DO I KNOW I HAVE GUM DISEASE?
When you visit Boulder Dental Designs, your dentist or dental hygienist will examine the health of your gums. They will use a unique tool to measure the depth of the pocket between your tooth and the gums. Patients without gum disease may have depths ranging from 1 millimeter to 3 millimeters. Patients with pockets four or more millimeters deep have gum disease and may need periodontal maintenance.
WHAT CAN HAPPEN IF I DO NOT TREAT MY PERIODONTAL DISEASE?
If you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease and do not undergo treatment, your condition can worsen. As mentioned above, there are two main stages of periodontal disease. The first stage is gingivitis, which can be reversed with periodontal maintenance. If untreated, gingivitis can progress into periodontitis, which is irreversible. Eventually, the collection of bacteria between the tooth and the gums can lead to infection and bone loss. The condition can enter your bloodstream and lead to serious system concerns, such as heart disease.
How is Periodontal Maintenance Different From Regular Cleaning?
Once you have been seen in our office for a deep cleaning (scaling and root planing), you will need to follow the hygienist’s instructions for your home care routine and visit us on a bit more frequent schedule than before your deep cleaning. This is because the bacteria present in active gum disease, periodontitis, takes about 90 days to repopulate in the mouth once it has been disrupted by the cleaning process you have just completed.
A periodontal maintenance cleaning may feel similar to the regular cleanings you received. Still, 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. They will most likely use an ultrasonic scaler that sprays water and helps disrupt the bacteria more effectively and a periodontal laser treatment called LBR (bacterial laser reduction).
You can also expect to have periodontal probing readings updated at these cleanings and have any necessary x-rays or photographs taken and reviewed. A periodontal maintenance cleaning is therapeutic, while a regular cleaning or prophylaxis is preventative.
HOW OFTEN DO I NEED PERIODONTAL MAINTENANCE?
Once you are diagnosed with periodontitis, the second, irreversible stage of periodontal disease, you will need regular periodontal appointments to maintain your oral health. At Boulder Dental Designs, we recommend that patients with periodontitis visit our office every three months for periodontal maintenance instead of every six months.
Periodontal disease is a severe condition that you should maintain for the best oral health. At Boulder Dental Designs, we can diagnose and treat your periodontal disease. For more information about periodontal maintenance or to schedule an appointment for any of our family dentistry services in Boulder, Colorado, contact our office.