Periodontal Maintenance

Supportive Periodontal Care

After Drs. Morse or Cwiklinski have completed the active phase of periodontal treatment, your doctor will provide you with a personalized maintenance program of care to keep the bone and gums supporting your teeth healthy.

Maintenance therapy is an ongoing program designed to prevent disease in the gum tissues and bone supporting your teeth. Adherence to a program of conscientious home oral care and regularly scheduled maintenance (supportive periodontal therapy) visits with your restorative dentist and Drs. Morse or Cwiklinski will give you an excellent chance of keeping your teeth for your lifetime.

During a periodontal maintenance appointment, patients will have their teeth thoroughly cleaned both above and below the gum line and polished by a hygienist, using a special set of hand and ultrasonic instruments.  This regular removal of dental plaque and calculus is an important dental treatment for stopping the progression of gingivitis and periodontal disease and keeping improvements that have been achieved.  

Why is supportive periodontal care important?

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, most importantly, your bone. 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 start a recurrence of gum disease from 3 months after your last professional cleaning.  This is because it takes about 3 months for more damaging kinds of bacteria, called Gram-Negative anaerobes, to begin to populate the sticky dental plaque that grows around teeth and under the gum line in periodontal pockets.  It should be noted that gum disease cannot be completely reversed, but prophylaxis is one of the tools Drs. Morse or Cwiklinski can use to effectively halt its progression.

Therefore, a dental professional must check for hidden problems under the gums and remove the hardened plaque at time intervals appropriate for you so that your teeth and gums stay healthy.

Who should perform supportive periodontal therapy?

The answer depends on you and the severity of your gum disease before treatment. Generally, the more severe your periodontal disease is initially, the more often we need to oversee your care. Together, you, your general dentist and Drs. Morse or Cwiklinski will work out the most effective schedule for your supportive periodontal care.

Your supportive periodontal therapy visit may include:

  • discussion of any changes in your health history
  • examination of your mouth tissues for abnormal changes
  • measurement of the depth of pockets around your teeth
  • assessment of your oral hygiene habits and provision of instruction
  • removal of bacterial plaque and tartar
  • x-ray images to evaluate your teeth and the bone supporting your teeth
  • examination of your teeth for decay and other dental problems
  • checkup on the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • application or prescription of medications to reduce tooth sensitivity or other problems you may have

How often should you have supportive periodontal care visits?

Your periodontal condition is the deciding factor. The interval between your supportive periodontal therapy (SPT) visits might be as often as every 2 to 3 months. Everyone’s situation is different. The frequency of your supportive periodontal therapy will be influenced by:

  • the type of periodontal disease you have
  • the type of periodontal treatment you have had
  • your response to treatment
  • your rate of plaque growth
  • your personal commitment to good oral care at home

What is the relationship between your restorative dentist and your periodontist?

Your restorative dentist and Drs. Morse or Cwiklinski work together as a team to provide you with the best possible care. They will combine their experience to formulate the best maintenance plan for you and will keep each other informed about your progress. Although a periodontist may see you periodically for maintenance therapy, you will need to see your general dentist as well. Appointments for periodontal maintenance do not replace regular dental checkups. If your periodontist detects tooth decay during a maintenance visit, you will be referred to your restorative dentist for treatment. Your restorative dentist is primarily responsible for your overall dental health, including such dental needs as filling new or recurrent cavities or making changes in fillings, crowns, or bridges.

To control periodontal disease and help keep your natural teeth, we recommend carefully following the guidelines of the maintenance program that Drs. Morse or Cwiklinski advise. Protecting your periodontal health through preventive maintenance has great benefits for you. You will be able to chew with more comfort, smile and speak with greater confidence, and keep dental costs down by preventing future problems. Your commitment to maintenance therapy is your commitment to better oral health.