Periodontal probe, held by dental hygienist, measuring pocket depths around tooth, examining progression of periodontal disease. Dental hygiene, periodontal disease and prevention concept.

What Is Periodontal Maintenance?

Do you have periodontal disease? If you do, you may be unaware of the need to have ongoing periodontal maintenance after your initial treatment. This is because advanced gum disease isn’t curable, but it is manageable with regular periodontal visits. Thankfully, our periodontist in Vero Beach can perform all your periodontal maintenance follow-up appointments.

The Need for Ongoing Periodontal Maintenance in Vero Beach

Ongoing periodontal maintenance is needed for moderate to severe periodontal disease, which is characterized by the pockets between the teeth and gums reaching 5mm to more than 8mm in depth. When pockets become extremely deep, the bacteria that causes gum disease can recolonize the space, because at-home dental care products do not reach that far below the gum line. Instead, toothbrushes, floss, and even water picks only reach about 3mm below the gum line.

Initial Teeth Cleaning Process for Periodontal Disease and Why It’s Not Enough

Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that they need ongoing periodontal maintenance. Instead, they notice that their teeth are slightly loose and that their gums have receded. They may also have tooth and gum pain, which is usually the reason for the initial visit to a dentist.

Once in the dentist’s chair, the periodontal disease is diagnosed, and an appointment is scheduled for a periodontal cleaning, which is sometimes referred to as root planing. Thoroughly cleaning all the bacteria from the deep pockets between the teeth is usually performed in multiple visits. Most people can expect to have two visits in order to thoroughly clean the pockets.

During each visit, half of the mouth is cleaned and antibiotics may be inserted into the pockets to help eliminate bacteria. Our periodontist in Vero Beach may also write a prescription for a periodontal mouthwash. Once the entire mouth has been thoroughly cleaned and they’ve used all the prescription mouthwash, the individual may believe that their advanced periodontal disease is cured, and they can resume their twice-yearly visits with their local dentist in order to maintain their oral health.

The bad news is that the bacteria that colonize the pockets, leading to periodontal disease, can re-establish itself in the pockets, and this can occur in as little as three months after the initial periodontal treatments. When the bacteria is allowed to recolonize and thrive, gum and tooth health can be further compromised.

Why Ongoing Periodontal Maintenance Is Needed

In order to keep advanced gum disease under control, periodontal maintenance is required. During each three month appointment, the teeth and gum health are examined and the pockets between the teeth and gum tissue are measured to see if they’ve increased in depth. Then, your teeth and the pockets are thoroughly cleaned to remove any bacteria or infections. This process can help control the periodontal disease to prevent further gum, bone, tooth damage and the need for tooth extractions.

Periodontal Maintenance from Our Periodontist in Vero Beach

Our periodontist in Vero Beach performs ongoing periodontal maintenance for individuals who have advanced gum disease. Each three-month periodontal maintenance visit includes a thorough examination of your mouth, teeth, and gums as well as cleaning and removing any pockets of infection and bacteria colonies. Then, we’ll apply anti-microbial and fluoride rinses to the areas. If there are pockets with significant infection or evidence of bacterial buildup, we will also apply local antibiotics to those pockets. If needed, we also perform bone and tissue grafting services to help restore the health of your mouth. Once your periodontal disease is under control, we can replace any missing teeth with dental implants.

To schedule your next periodontal maintenance appointment or to get treatment for periodontal disease, contact our periodontal office online in Vero Beach at 772-569-9700.