It is important to think of the periodontal structures (such as bone and gums), like you would think of the foundation supporting a house. Without this solid foundation, the house is much more likely to have problems that need to be fixed.
- Dental Cleanings These regular cleaning (prophylaxis or prophy) appointments allow our dental team to keep a watchful eye on any changes that can be occurring within your mouth. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends a patient be seen at least twice a year (every six months) for regular dental cleanings. However, if signs of periodontal disease are present or the teeth are not adequately maintained with regular home care alone, a patient may need to be kept on a more frequent cleaning schedule (such as every 3 or 4 months).
- Periodontal Measurements or Probing Depths During your visits, our hygienist may use an instrument called a periodontal probe. These probes are placed beneath the gums and measure the depth at which the gums and tooth meet. In healthy, well-maintained teeth, a typical depth ranges from 1-3mm. A depth of over 4mm can indicate a possible problem area needing attention and possibly a deeper type of cleaning, called scaling and root planing.
- Scaling and Root Planing Sometimes referred to as a deep cleaning, this non-surgical treatment is performed when teeth have a periodontal probing depth of 4mm or more. By cleaning deeper beneath the gums, harmful bacteria and calculus (tartar) are removed, allowing this pocketed area to heal. If left untreated, a pocket can grow increasingly longer, trap even more bacteria, and lead to the progression of periodontal disease. More advanced stages of the periodontal disease may even require surgery to aid in the healing process.
- Periodontal Maintenance A periodontal maintenance visit is for a patient who may have had more extensive periodontal therapy in the past, like scaling and root planing. It is essential for these patients to have a maintenance schedule so that the condition of their periodontal tissues can be closely monitored.
- Oral Cancer Screenings Although oral cancer can occur at any age, it is more likely to strike after age 40, and in people who use any form of tobacco. Furthermore, only half of all patients diagnosed with oral cancer survive more than five years. It is important for patients to be aware of these facts and maintain their regularly scheduled appointments so that our dentists and hygienists can identify potentially problematic areas.
For more information please call (360)450-0075.