Maintenance of periodontal disease after the initial treatment phase is very important to the health of the patient’s teeth and gums. Research has shown that patients who have been treated for periodontal disease were more likely to retain healthy periodontal conditions for many years by following a prescribed maintenance care program.
It only takes 24 hours for the plaque in your mouth to harden into calculus (tartar). Tartar buildup can lead to gum disease. Brushing and flossing thoroughly each day can help to control the formation of plaque and tartar. If you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, however, your mouth will need additional attention to keep it healthy.
After you have undergone periodontal treatment to rid your mouth of infection and restore it to a healthy state, your dentist will want to start you on a regular maintenance care program. Maintenance typically includes periodontal cleanings every three months. During the cleanings, the depths of the pockets around the teeth will be monitored to ensure that they stay healthy. Plaque and tartar in hard to reach places (especially below the gum line) will be removed. Afterwards, the teeth will be polished to remove any remaining stains and plaque.
Once a year, a periodontal exam will be performed in addition to the periodontal cleaning. During this exam, x-rays will be taken to detect tooth decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss, and to determine tooth and root positions. A thorough exam of the mouth will be done to check all tooth surfaces for signs of decay, to inspect the condition of any restorations, and to check for any signs of oral cancer.
In addition to the routine dental visits, there are steps you can take at home to maintain good periodontal health. For instance, you might use an electric toothbrush to ensure a cleaner mouth. Mouthwashes and fluoride rinses can help reduce plaque-causing bacteria in the mouth and protect against tooth decay. Special periodontal brushes may be used to clean hard-to-reach places.
Practice good oral hygiene, and visit your dentist as recommended to maintain healthy teeth and gums.