What Is Periodontal Maintenance?

Periodontal maintenance is a necessary periodontal cleaning of the teeth to keep structures sound and the teeth healhty. It involves cleaning the teeth above and below the gum line, and is one of the best ways to eliminate harmful bacteria that can cause infection, gum disease, and bad breath.

What Happens During Periodontal Maintenance?

There are five basic steps for periodontal maintenance:

  • Supragingival Cleaning – In this step the dentist will clean the teeth above the gum line, removing tarter and plaque while performing other cleaning procedures.
  • Subgingival Cleaning – This step involves cleaning at and below the gum line, including eliminating tooth rot and cleaning the gum pockets.
  • Root Planing – Root planing is a step that provides relief to the tooth roots, preventing rot and removing dangerous bacteria.
  • Anti-Bacterial Treatment – An anti-bacterial cream or gel is placed in the gum pockets following cleaning. This helps teeth and gums heal more quickly and reduces pain and discomfort.
  • X-Ray – X-Rays allow your dentist to track the progress of periodontal maintenance efforts and evaluate if any other steps should be taken.
  • Intra-oral soft tissue exam to rule out oral cancer or other pathologic conditions.
  • Taking of blood pressure and review of medical history.

These steps are recommended every 3-4 months in order to prevent gum disease and ensure continued oral health. 

What are the Benefits of Periodontal Maintenance?

Patients have reported a number of benefits from periodontal maintenance, including:

  • Better Breath – Bad breath is often caused by gum disease and periodontal issues. Removing the plaque and bacteria that cause bad breath from the teeth above and below the gum line helps prevent infections that can cause bad breath
  • Plaque Removal – Tarter and plaque buildup can lead to a number of different oral health issues, including serious gum disease, bad breath, and other periodontal issues. While brushing and flossing at home help, only qualified oral health professionals can remove bacteria and debris from gum pockets, which is an essential step to ensure good oral health.
  • Better Smile – The deep cleaning provided by periodontal maintenance can remove stains and plaque buildups that make some patients self-conscious of their smile.

Should I Get Periodontal Maintenance?

If you are experiencing sore, reduced, or bleeding gums, excessive bad breath, excessive plaque buildup, or unsightly stains, you may be a candidate for periodontal maintenance. Periodontal maintenance is an important part of maintaining proper oral health, and many patients can benefit from the procedure.

It is important to consult with a qualified oral health specialist if you are considering periodontal maintenance in order to determine the best path forward for you. Dr. Kathleen A. Stambaugh is a periodontal and implantology specialist in Burlington, WA. Her practice specializes in the treatment of gum disease including cosmetic procedures to aesthetically enhance your smile, and replace missing teeth using dental implant technology. She also diagnoses and treats oral pathology.

With over 65 combined years of research and practice, Pericowest Periodontics provides cutting edge implant and periodontal disease services and treatments. Kathleen A. Stambaugh’s office is nestled in the city of Burlington, surrounded by farm fields and foothills, providing a calm and serene place of practice that is reflected in the patients’ treatment experience.

  • Extraoral examination and recording of results
  • Dental examination and recording of results:
    1. Tooth mobility / fremitus
    2. Caries assessment
    3. Restorative, prosthetic
    4. Other tooth-related problems
  • Periodontal examination and recording of results:
    1. Probing depths
    2. Bleeding on probing
    3. General
    4. Evaluation of furcation invasion
    5. Exudation
    6. Gingival recession
    7. Occlusal examination and tooth mobility
    8. Other signs and symptoms of disease activity
  • Radiographs should be current and based on the diagnostic needs of the patient. The radiographs must permit proper evaluation of the status of the periodontium and dental implants. Radiographs of diagnostic quality are necessary for these purposes.
  • The judgment of the clinician, as well as the degree of disease activity helps determine the need for, the frequency of, and the number of radiographs needed.
  • Assessment of disease status by reviewing the clinical and radiographic examination findings compared with the baseline.
  • Assessment of personal oral hygiene status
  • Removal of sub-gingival and supragingival plaque and calculus
  • Behavior modification:
    1. Oral hygiene re-instruction
    2. Compliance with suggested periodontal maintenance intervals
    3. Counseling on control of risk factors; e.g., cessation of smoking
  • Antimicrobial agents as necessary
  • Surgical treatment of recurrent disease
  • Informing the patient of current status and alterations in treatment if indicated.
  • Consultation with other healthcare practitioners who will be providing additional therapy or participating in the periodontal maintenance program.
  • For most patients with a history of periodontitis, visits at 3-month intervals have been found to be effective in maintaining the established gingival health.
  • Based on evaluation of clinical findings and assessment of disease status, PM frequency may be modified or the patient may be returned to active treatment.
  • The desired outcome for patients on PM should result in maintenance of the periodontal health status attained as a result of active therapy.
  • Inadequate PM or non-compliance may result in recurrence or progression of the disease process.
  • Despite adequate PM and patient compliance, patients may demonstrate recurrence or progression of periodontal disease. In these patients additional therapy may be warranted.