Periodontitis is a serious gum infection that damages the soft tissues and bone that supports your teeth. It is characterized by deep periodontal pockets (areas where the gums have receded from the teeth due to bacterial infection.) It causes swelling, redness, bleeding, and pain in the gums and can ultimately lead to tooth loss, heart disease, and lung disease. When a patient develops periodontal disease, we often perform a procedure known as scaling and root planing (SRP), which removes diseased deposits that have formed on tooth roots beneath the gumline. This procedure is actually the most conservative treatment for periodontal disease, with more severe cases often requiring a surgical approach. Once SRP or another procedure has addressed periodontal disease in an advanced stage, Weissman Dental will design an ongoing gum and bone care plan known as periodontal maintenance therapy.
Why Is Periodontal Maintenance Important?
Scaling and root planing are necessary to remove the “bulk” of plaque, tartar, and bacteria from under your gumline. This effectively disrupts the growth of bacteria, but some bacteria will inevitably settle back into the pockets to reproduce. Dishearteningly, it’s estimated that the number of bacteria will double each time they reproduce and can reach destructive levels again within 90 days. That’s where a 3-month periodontal maintenance visit comes in. There is no cure for periodontal disease, but follow-up periodontal maintenance provides a non-surgical approach to controlling it. The idea is that this type of maintenance therapy will prevent more aggressive treatment in the future, with a 3-month maintenance visit being critically timed to once again beat the bacteria in its critical stage.
What Happens Without 3-Month Periodontal Maintenance Visits?
Left untreated, periodontal disease is unpredictable and can contribute to serious health issues, including stroke, heart disease, diabetes, low birth weight, premature births, and osteoporosis. With such risky effects, we believe we must do everything in our power to locate and control periodontal disease. Frequently, periodontal disease doesn’t cause any pain, so it can be a challenge to discover where it is advancing. In fact, the only way to be sure we locate the diseased areas is with a thorough professional exam that is specifically targeted at the disease. Essentially, periodontal maintenance helps us break the cycle of bacterial growth in your gums and slow down or eliminate its destructive effects. It may even be necessary to retreat with SRP, provide an antimicrobial irrigation, or prescribe an antibiotic to really break the stronghold of bacteria.
We Can Only Control Periodontal Disease
Remember that there is no cure for periodontal disease. We can only control it to the best of our ability. This is why 3-month periodontal maintenance visits are so crucial. If we slack in closely monitoring the disease, it can worsen very quickly and destroy both bone and soft tissue, leading to tooth loss. At Weissman Dental, our trained professionals have many years of experience targeting, treating, and controlling periodontal disease. If you notice any signs of periodontal disease like inflammation or bleeding of the gums, or a foul odor or taste in your mouth, please call us at (503) 274-2222 so we can get you in the office for a thorough periodontal exam.