At Kieffer Family Dental, we will complete non-surgical periodontal treatment including a careful cleaning of the root surfaces to remove plaque and tartar from deep periodontal pockets and to smooth the root surfaces to remove bacterial toxins. Non-surgical therapy does have its limitations. When it does not achieve periodontal health, surgery may be indicated to restore periodontal anatomy damaged by periodontal disease and to facilitate oral health practices.

After root planing and scaling, you will require ongoing maintenance therapy to sustain the health of your mouth. Because periodontal disease is a chronic disease, without careful ongoing monitoring and treatment, periodontal disease can recur. Once you have been treated for periodontal disease, periodontal maintenance procedures enable you to gain control of the disease and increase your chance of keeping your natural teeth. Periodontal maintenance is a specialized treatment to protect the foundation of the gums and bone that support your teeth. This treatment is different from the traditional six month cleanings where calculus, stain, and plaque is removed from tooth structures on individuals with no bone loss, periodontal disease, or infections around their teeth.

Frequency of maintenance visits varies person to person. Intervals between visits may range from a few weeks to four times a year with check-ups by the dentist. Factors that influence frequency of treatment include genetic, stress, or tobacco uses, severity of periodontal disease, bone loss at the time of initial treatment, over-all general health, and at-home oral hygiene.

At each visit the dentist/hygienist will monitor your disease progression and treatment effectiveness and may increase or decrease your frequency of your treatment schedule accordingly. You will remain on periodontal maintenance procedures for the lifetime of your dentition or until the doctor determines that your mouth is free of disease.

Insurance plans can help you pay for treatment that you need, but it is not designed to pay for everything. It is a mistake to base your health care treatment solely on how your insurance will cover periodontal maintenance procedures.

PERIODONTAL DISEASE

Plaque must be removed daily by brushing and interproximal care and frequent professional dental visits. Keeping diabetes under control will make diabetics less likely to develop periodontal disease. Studies have concluded that poorly controlled diabetics respond differently to bacterial plaque than well controlled diabetics. Poorly controlled diabetics have more destructive inflammatory activities in their gum tissue causing more severe loss of gums, bone, and tooth loss.

If treated early, periodontal disease may be arrested, bringing the gums back to a state of health preventing additional bone loss and tooth loss. Periodontal treatments combined with antibiotics have shown to improve blood sugar levels, suggesting that periodontal treatment could decrease insulin requirements.

Diabetics and dental professionals must work together to stop this vicious cycle before it begins by being attentive to daily oral hygiene: brushing, flossing, receiving regular oral and medical check-ups, and properly treating periodontal disease promptly.

Make an oral health appointment if you notice or experience any of these warning signs of periodontal disease:

  • Bleeding gums when brushing or eating
  • Red, swollen, tender gums
  • Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
  • Pus between your teeth and gums when the gums are touched
  • Changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • Persistent bad breath or an unusual taste in your mouth

References

  • American Academy of Periodontology. Diabetes and Periodontal Disease: A Two Way Relationhship.
  • American Dental Hygiene Association. Some Life Saving Adive? Ask Your Dental Professional about Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes.
  • American Diabetes Association. www.diabetes.org.

PREVENTING GUM DISEASE

The best way to prevent gum disease is effective daily brushing and flossing as well as regular professional examinations and cleanings. Unfortunately, even with the most diligent home dental care, people still can develop some form of periodontal disease. Once this disease starts, professional intervention is necessary to prevent its progress.

Other important factors affecting the health of your gums include:

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Stress
  • Clenching and grinding teeth
  • Medication
  • Poor nutrition