Periodontal Maintenance

Periodontal diseases are infections of the gums, which gradually destroy the support of your natural teeth. There are numerous disease entities requiring different treatment approaches. Dental biofilm (plaque) is the primary cause of gum disease in genetically susceptible individuals. Daily brushing and flossing will help prevent most periodontal conditions.

Why is oral hygiene so important?

Adults lose more teeth to gum diseases, (periodontal disease) than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by good tooth brushing and flossing techniques, performed daily.

Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial biofilm.biofilm is a colorless film, which sticks to your teeth at the gum line. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. By thorough daily brushing and flossing you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease.

Periodontal diseases can be accelerated by a number of different factors. However, it is mainly caused by the bacteria found in dental biofilm, a sticky colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. If not carefully removed by daily brushing and flossing,biofilm hardens into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar).

Other important factors affecting the health of your gums include:

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Stress
  • Clenching and grinding teeth
  • Medication
  • Poor nutrition

Periodontal Disease

Bacteria found in biofilm (plaque) produces toxins or poisons that irritate the gums, which may cause them to turn red, swell and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, causing pockets (spaces) to form. As periodontal diseases progress, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorate. If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss.

Preventing Gum Disease

The best way to prevent gum disease is effective daily brushing and flossing as well as regular professional examinations and cleanings. Unfortunately, even with the most diligent home dental care, people still can develop some form of periodontal disease. Once this disease starts, professional intervention is necessary to prevent its progress.

Difference between periodontal maintenance and prophylaxis

A prophylaxis treatment is what most people think of when they hear dental cleaning. This involves scaling of calculus buildup above the gumline followed by flossing and pumice polishing. However, this cleaning can only be done on patients who have pocketing between 1-3mm. This is determined by the dentist or hygienist probing between the gumline and the tooth. If pocketing is between 4-5mm in depth and bleeding is found during a evaluation, periodontal treatment is necessary. Periodontal treatment is necessary at this point because bone is being lost between the teeth, and calculus can build up under the gumline. These patients can no longer receive prophylaxis treatment because the calculus buildup is under the gumline which requires “planing”, a process in which the calculus below the gumline is removed. After the calculus has been removed, regular periodontal treatments are necessary to prevent calculus return and to prevent the pocketing from becoming more severe. These appointments are typically scheduled at intervals of 3 months.