When you stroll into the dentist’s office for the first time in a while, you may wonder what treatment you need to get your teeth and gums healthy again. You’re probably familiar with routine dental cleanings, but have you heard of periodontal maintenance?
Patients often have two immediate questions about this service: “Is there a difference between a dental cleaning and a periodontal cleaning?” and “Do I really need to keep up with periodontal maintenance?” The short answer to both questions is “Yes!” Let’s explore why periodontal services are so crucial.
Dental Cleaning vs. Periodontal Cleaning
A standard dental cleaning targets the tooth’s surface above the gum line, known as the crown. It focuses on removing visible stains, plaque, and bacteria so your smile shines bright and healthy.
Periodontal maintenance goes the extra mile. During the appointment, both the crown and the root beneath the gum line are thoroughly cleaned. This deeper cleaning removes subgingival plaque, which is persistent bacteria below the gum line that contributes to bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease, and even bone loss. So, while dental cleanings give your teeth a surface-level shine, periodontal services tackle the unseen problems lurking beneath.
Most dentists recommend dental cleanings every six months. But if you have periodontal disease, maintenance visits need to occur more frequently. Most periodontists advise a check-in every three to four months.
Why the urgency? Periodontal disease damages the gums and results in deep pockets where bacteria thrive. This accelerated growth often repopulates pockets deeper than three millimeters (mm) in just six to eight weeks. Therefore, more frequent dentist visits are essential to maintain a healthy gum line.
What Happens During Periodontal Maintenance?
As mentioned, periodontal cleaning goes beyond the visible tooth crown to scrape off bacteria up to 3 mm below the gum line. These meticulous cleanings begin with probing your gums to check pocket depths and look for bleeding. A plaque analysis is also crucial to gauge your oral health accurately. Your hygienist may discuss further treatment options like root planing and scaling if pocket depths exceed 5 millimeters, indicating inflammation and potential damage to the gums, teeth, and supporting bone structure.
Root planing smoothes the root surfaces of your teeth to reduce rough areas where bacteria, plaque, and tartar can accumulate. Scaling removes plaque and tartar from below the gum line. Special dental instruments, ultrasonic scaling tools, or lasers are used to meticulously scrape away these harmful substances. Root planing and scaling can take one or more dental visits to complete and may require a local anesthetic to minimize discomfort.
Choose Beyond Dentistry Laser Center for Periodontal Services
Established in 1976, Beyond Dentistry Laser Center is your go-to destination for periodontal maintenance in Brooklyn, NY. Our expert dentist, Dr. Simon Kappel, focuses on delivering compassionate, patient-centered care. We don’t just do dentistry; we change lives. Ready to take the first step toward better oral health? Contact us today at 718-436-0202 to schedule your next periodontal maintenance appointment.