What is Dental Maintenance Therapy and Why Do I Need It?
Dental maintenance therapy is more than simple teeth cleaning. When teeth are cleaned, the surface is cleaned, in between the teeth and then polished. Following this procedure, maintenance is then necessary to keep bacteria from getting under the gums, into the roots and causing bone and tooth loss. It is deep cleaning. Periodontal disease results from the lack of such maintenance. This disease is incurable. It can be controlled, however, with the result that bone and tooth loss will be kept at bay.
Why is Periodontal Maintenance Necessary?
Bacteria are sneaky bad guys. Remember that the mouth is moist and dark. Bacteria need this to stay alive. They sneak into crevices and beneath the gums. Regular cleaning won’t get it all. When bacteria, tartar and food debris get under the gums, it causes inflammation. The immune system then kicks in to fight the inflammation. If this inflammation continues for too long, gum disease occurs. This causes tooth and bone loss. Should your dentist find this problem with your teeth, Dr. Pinky can perform a deep cleaning on your teeth.
How is This Done?
First, Dr. Pinky Penalosa will go over your hygiene routine, your diet and health history. X-Rays may be necessary. Dr. Pinky will prescribe anti-inflammatory and antibiotic medications if necessary. Then she will get down to business:
- The doctor will deaden the area to be worked on first
- Deep cleaning beneath the gum line will be next
- The doctor will then examine the roots of the teeth to determine if bacteria has penetrated that far
- If the roots need scraping or smoothing to avoid bacteria getting into the roots, then that shall be done
The doctor will tell you to get some over-the-counter pain medication like Ibuprofen until your mouth returns to normal. She will also instruct you as to brushing and flossing while your mouth is healing. Don't discount the importance of home care and maintenance of the mouth. Without it, bacteria will again sneak in to do its worst.
What Comes Next?
Periodontal disease might be incurable, but it can be handled. Periodontal maintenance is just that: maintenance. It ensures that plaque, tartar and bacteria don’t get back under your gums and into the teeth. It should be done perhaps every three months, and after that as much as every six months to keep the gums and teeth healthy.