After Dr. Hapak has completed periodontal treatment, your periodontal disease is under control. She will then provide you with a personalized maintenance program of care to keep your gums healthy. Maintenance therapy is an ongoing program designed to prevent disease in the gum tissues and bone supporting your teeth.
Why is maintenance therapy important?
As you have learned, you are susceptible to gum disease. The main cause of gum disease is bacterial plaque, a sticky, colourless film that constantly forms on your teeth. The bacteria in this plaque produce toxins, or poisons, which constantly attack your gums and teeth. Unless plaque is removed, it hardens into a rough, porous deposit called calculus, or tartar. Daily brushing and flossing will help to minimize the formation of calculus, but it won’t completely prevent it. No matter how careful you are in cleaning your teeth and gums, bacterial plaque can cause a recurrence of gum disease from two to four months after your last professional cleaning. Therefore, a dental professional must check for hidden problems and remove the hardened plaque at time intervals appropriate for you so that your teeth and gums stay healthy.
Your maintenance periodontal care visit may include:
- discussion of any changes in your health history
- examination of your mouth tissues for abnormal changes
- measurement of the depth of pockets around your teeth
- assessment of your oral hygiene habits and provision of instruction
- removal of bacterial plaque and tartar
- x-ray film studies to evaluate your teeth and the bone supporting your teeth
- examination of your teeth for decay and other dental problems
- checkup on the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- application or prescription of medications to reduce tooth sensitivity or other problems you may have.
How often should you have supportive periodontal care visits?
Your periodontal condition is the deciding factor. The frequency of your maintenance care visits will be influenced by:
- the type of periodontal disease you have
- the type of periodontal treatment you have
- your response to treatment
- your rate of plaque growth
- your personal commitment to good oral care at home.