What is periodontal maintenance?
Ongoing Therapy Will Involve:
- Pocket depth measurement around teeth
- Cleaning below your gum line
- Scaling and root planing where necessary
- Polishing your teeth
Periodontal maintenance is started after your active periodontal therapy concludes and the disease is under control. It will continue at varying intervals for the life of your teeth, or any implant replacements. This maintenance program is an extension of active periodontal therapy. Periodontal maintenance appointments are supervised by Dr. Funderburk and involve close monitoring and treatment of all the factors that contribute to your periodontal disease.
Why are periodontal maintenance cleanings important?
We’re all susceptible to gum disease. The main cause of gum disease is bacterial plaque, a sticky, colorless 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.
How often should you have periodontal maintenance visits?
Your periodontal condition is the deciding factor. Everyone’s situation is different, but for most people, once every three months seems to work best.
The frequency of your maintenance 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.
During this phase of therapy, the state of your disease is closely monitored and your risk factors are reduced as much as possible. It is different than, but goes along with, active therapy. As time passes, and conditions change, you may move from active therapy to periodontal maintenance and back into active care if the disease recurs.
Goals of Periodontal Maintenance
- Minimize the recurrence and progression of your periodontal disease
- Reduce tooth loss by monitoring your teeth and any replacements of your natural teeth
- Find and treat problems with your teeth, gums, or other tissues before they worsen
Perio Maintenance and Insurance
From a scientific point of view, once you have developed periodontal disease, and have had active therapy, you should continue to be in periodontal maintenance program until the disease is completely eradicated and your home care is sufficient to prevent recurrence. From a biologic standpoint, periodontal maintenance should be performed at least every three months to be effective.
Unfortunately, many insurance plans only reimburse periodontal maintenance every six months, but, they will also reimburse a preventive procedure ( prophylaxis ) every six months. This is based on their business model, not your health.
If your insurance plan has this clause, we will treat your health needs properly, and ask the insurance company to transcode for your benefit. We will not pretend that your periodontal health swings from diseased to healthy every three months based on your insurance company’s business model.