Periodontal Maintenance: Importance and Tips for Successful Management

Welcome to Downtown Dental Specialty in San Diego! Your oral health is our priority, and we are delighted to bring you valuable insights on periodontal maintenance – an essential aspect of your smile’s long-term care. If you’re concerned about your gum health or have a history of periodontal disease, the maintenance process is essential for keeping your smile healthy. Particularly after you’ve completed your deep cleaning.

What are the Symptoms of Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease, can manifest in various ways. If you experience any of the following symptoms, it’s crucial to seek professional dental care:

Bleeding Gums: One of the earliest signs of periodontal disease is bleeding gums, particularly during brushing or flossing.

Persistent Bad Breath: Unpleasant breath that does not improve with regular oral hygiene might indicate an underlying gum infection.

Receding Gums: As gum disease progresses, you may notice your gums pulling away from the teeth, making them appear longer.

Loose or Shifting Teeth: Advanced gum disease can lead to tooth instability, causing teeth to feel loose or shift in position.

Swollen and Tender Gums: Inflamed gums that are sensitive to touch can be a sign of an ongoing gum infection.

How is Periodontal Disease Diagnosed?

Early detection of periodontal disease is vital for successful management. During your regular dental check-ups, our skilled team will perform a comprehensive examination to assess the health of your gums. We will use special diagnostic methods such as periodontal probing, where a tiny measuring instrument is used to measure the depth of spaces between your gums and teeth. Deeper pockets may indicate gum disease. We’ll also use X-rays to help us evaluate the condition of the bone supporting your teeth and identify any bone loss due to gum disease.

What Causes Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is typically the result of inadequate oral hygiene (particularly flossing), a lack of preventative dental cleanings, and the buildup of plaque and tartar on the roots of teeth. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth and gums. When not removed regularly through proper brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into tartar, which can only be removed by a dental professional. As the tartar builds up along the gumline, it gradually works its way down under the gum tissues and across the surfaces of the tooth roots. This causes the gums to pull away and damages the adjacent bone structure, creating “pockets” around the roots of your teeth. 

The prescribed treatment for periodontal infections is scaling and root planing—also known as a deep cleaning—to establish a clean environment that you can then work to maintain, with the goal of preventing disease relapse.

What is Scaling and Root Planing?

Scaling and root planing (“deep cleanings”) are a non-surgical procedure that is highly effective in treating early to moderate stages of periodontal disease. During your deep cleaning, our skilled dental hygienists will use specialized tools to remove plaque and tartar from the surfaces of your teeth and beneath your gumline. Root planing focuses on smoothing the root surfaces of your teeth to prevent bacteria from re-accumulating and help your gums reattach firmly to the teeth.

Periodontal Maintenance

After your deep cleaning, the next phase of your smile’s health will be to maintain the current health status and prevent disease relapse. This maintenance phase typically includes semi-frequent dental cleanings, usually scheduled every 3-4 months. Our hygienist will use special instruments to clean your periodontal pockets and the rest of your mouth like you’d expect during a typical preventative cleaning. The only difference is that we’re particularly focused on the areas around your root surfaces, to prevent disease relapse. Your dental cleanings will usually continue to be periodontal maintenance visits for the duration of your care.

Call Us To Schedule Your Visit 

Your oral health is too important to neglect. Especially given the fact that gum disease can put you at an increased risk of major medical conditions. If you have symptoms of periodontal disease or heavy tartar buildup on your teeth, call Downtown Dental Specialty in San Diego. Our caring team is dedicated to providing exceptional periodontal maintenance and oral health care to keep your smile healthy and vibrant.