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Periodontal Maintenance


Diagram of periodontitis and healthy toothPeriodontal maintenance refers to a routine dental visit that is more comprehensive and cleaning that is deeper than your basic prophylaxis cleaning. At Simi Hills Dental, these appointments involve a detailed oral examination, careful dental cleaning that goes below the gumline, and oral health and hygiene education.

Why Is Periodontal Maintenance Recommended?


Periodontal maintenance is recommended for patients who have a history of periodontal disease. These in-depth cleanings are required because of the formation of gum pockets between the teeth and the gingiva. As a result, bacteria and plaque can accumulate there and spread infection that results in not just oral issues but other health issues as well.

Although more exhaustive, periodontal maintenance is essential to restoring your gum and bone health. People who have been recommended periodontal maintenance are required to visit us after 2 to 4 months, depending on the severity of the condition.

What to Expect During a Periodontal Maintenance Procedure?


A periodontal maintenance appointment involves several steps:
•  Measuring Pocket Depth: A gum pocket forms between your gum and teeth and is usually a sign of bone loss due to periodontal disease. These pockets allow bacteria to spread deep inside the gums. In a healthy mouth, the gums are attached firmly to the teeth like a turtleneck sweater is to your neck. Healthy pocket measurements should be no more than 3 millimeters. In a diseased mouth, though, these pockets become much deeper as your immune system tries to fight the bacteria and destroys the supporting tooth structure. When measuring your pockets, Dr. Stout will use a small probe to see how deep your pockets are.
•  Scaling and Root Planing: Since gum disease causes the gums to pull away from your teeth, bacteria can attach itself to your exposed tooth root, eventually hardening like barnacles on a boat. To remove this tartar, we use pointed dental equipment called scalers to scrape off the calculus from your teeth. We then smooth out and polish the surface of the root so that it becomes harder for bacteria to adhere to the surface in the future.
•  Medication: The effects of scaling and root planing work well in conjunction with antimicrobial medication that can help fight off infection. We may recommend antibacterial mouth rinses or oral antibiotics for you to take over several days. We may also administer additional medication directly into your gums to fix the adverse effects of periodontitis and prevent it from occurring again.
•  X-rays: We may also recommend a few digital radiographs to examine the health of the bony structures supporting your tooth. X-rays can also help check for cavities or dental fractures that occur below the gumline, and the extent of bone loss.
•  Surgery: If your periodontal disease has progressed, we may recommend surgeries to save your teeth. These may include flap surgery and bone grafts. Flap surgery involves lifting back the gums to remove the accumulated plaque. The gums are then sutured tightly around the teeth. For people who have suffered extensive bone loss, a bone graft of either natural or synthetic material is recommended. Soft tissue grafts may also be used to regenerate lost gums.

Periodontal disease is very serious, and delaying treatment can only lead to bigger health issues in the future. If you suspect you have gum disease, schedule an appointment with us by calling us at (805) 317-4999.
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