So, you've recently been told that you have periodontal disease, a gum disease that causes bone loss and, if left untreated, can lead to tooth loss. You've already gone through the process of having a root planing and scaling procedure done, but your dentist has also informed you that you're going to need to have regular periodontal maintenance cleanings as well. This is an important part of managing gum disease and preventing it from getting worse. Now, it's about time for your first maintenance cleaning, and you're wondering what to expect.
Checking Your Progress
When you first show up to your appointment, your dentist or periodontist will likely begin by using a probe to measure the distance between the tips of your gums and the jaw bone below (he or she likely did this when your periodontal disease was first diagnosed, as well). This isn't a pleasant process, but it only takes a minute and will help your dentist or periodontist determine whether or not you've lost any more bone. So long as you've been keeping up with your dental hygiene, you should actually see an improvement over your last measurements.
A Deep Tooth & Gum Cleaning
Once your measurements have been taken with the gum probe, it's time for the cleaning. Depending on your dentist's preferences, he or she will likely use either a hand scraping tool or a strong water pick to clean your teeth. The process isn't very different from a traditional tooth cleaning, aside from the fact that it takes a little longer and your dentist may spend more time cleaning around the gum line. Every few visits, your dentist may also want to take X-rays or end your cleaning with a fluoride treatment.
Determining Your Next Appointment
After your cleaning is done, your dentist or periodontist will review your progress, letting you know how well your disease is being managed. At this time, he or she will also want to schedule your next appointment. Most periodontal maintenance patients need cleanings once every three months, but if you're showing that you're managing your gum disease well, he or she may move you to cleanings every four to six months after a few successful sessions.
Periodontal disease can unfortunately never be cured, nor can its damage be reversed. However, by taking care of your teeth and going to all your scheduled maintenance appointments, you can keep it from getting any worse. Speak to a dentist like John P Poovey DMD PC to learn more about the treatment process.