FAQs about Keeping Healthy Gums

A personalized plan of care is helpful in maintaining healthy gums. The key word is: maintenance (Re-care) therapy. By exercising proper home care and having routine periodontal maintenance treatments, you will help protect your periodontal health.

What is periodontal maintenance (Re-care) therapy?

Since periodontal disease is a chronic condition like diabetes, it is helpful to establish an ongoing program to maintain the improvements achieved during active treatment. The periodontal maintenance (Re-care) treatment intervals are best determined by your periodontist or dentist, and can range from 3-6 times per year. Studies show that after 8-12 weeks, calculus (tartar) tends to repopulate in deep pockets where toothbrush bristles cannot reach. Therefore, for patients with periodontal disease, we recommend quarterly visits. These sessions are designed to preserve the healthy state of your gums and stabilize your bone levels. On-going treatment success is based on your conscientious home care, and the professional treatments you receive in your periodontists or dentists office.

Why is periodontal maintenance (Re-care) therapy important?

Daily oral hygiene will not insure that the bacterial plaque will not return to damage your gums and bone. Even with a dedicated combination of flossing, brushing and using oral hygiene aids, dental plaque continues to mature in the hard-to-reach places.

This can happen in 8-12 weeks, which is why it is often recommended to patients completing periodontal treatment to schedule maintenance (Re-care) sessions every three months.

Who should perform periodontal maintenance (Re-care) therapy?

Based on the severity of your problem, the responsibility for the periodontal maintenance (Re-care) will be worked out between you, your dentist and your periodontist.

What is done during a periodontal maintenance (Re-care) session?

  • Your mouth tissues will be examined for abnormal changes (Oral cancer screening)
  • Changes in your health will be discussed
  • Pockets will be measured, noting any changes
  • Your oral hygiene will be evaluated, with suggestions on how to improve it when needed
  • Your teeth will be cleaned to remove bacterial plaque and calculus (tartar)
  • Necessary x-rays may be taken to evaluate the teeth and supporting bone
  • Your teeth will be checked for caries (dental decay)
  • The bite (the way the teeth fit together) will be checked
  • Dispense appropriate recommendations for any problems discovered, e.g. tooth sensitivity and indicated dental restorations

What is the relationship between my general dentist and my periodontist?

Your periodontist, dentist and hygienist form a team to provide the best possible dental care and maintenance (Re-care) program for your needs. The periodontist may see you periodically for periodontal maintenance (Re-care) therapy and the assessment of your overall periodontal health, but you will still need to see your general dentist as well. Why? Because periodontal maintenance (Re-care) treatments are not meant to take the place of regular dental check-ups. Remember that your general dentist is primarily responsible for your overall dental health. He/she will examine – and repair – carious lesions (dental decay), change fillings, make new crowns or bridges, perform cosmetic dentistry and whiten or bleach your teeth.