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What is a Periodontal Maintenance teeth cleaning?

If you suffer from periodontitis (a form of gum disease) it's likely that you're going in to see your dentist or dental hygienist every few months for a periodontal maintenance. Some patients are under the impression that a periodontal maintenance is just another "regular cleaning" that is done at a shorter interval, but there is actually a difference between a periodontal maintenance and a regular cleaning.

Sooo... What is a Periodontal Maintenance?

A periodontal maintenance or most commonly known as a perio maintenance in the dental world is a type of cleaning that is done on patients who have a history of periodontitis and who have gone through SRP (Scaling and root planning) treatment. A perio maintenance is typically done at a shorter interval like 3 or 4 months, depending on what your dentist or dental hygienist believe is the best for the health of your gums.

The purpose of this cleaning is to scale and clean not only the coronal aspect of the tooth like on a "regular cleaning", but also the root surfaces of the affected teeth. This entails cleaning below the gumline and apical to the CEJ (Cementoenamel Junction-point where the coronal part of the tooth meets the root). This is done to remove more tartar and plaque that may be hiding subgingivally (below the gumline), therefore helping prevent further progression of gum disease which may lead to further breakdown of the bone and gum tissue.

The importance of coming in at shorter intervals for a periodontal maintenance cannot be overstated. Even those patient's who brush and floss properly on a daily basis can't thoroughly clean deeper than 3 millimeters into the gumline. Therefore coming in to have your dentist or dental hygienist clean these deeper pockets that you haven't been able to clean thoroughly over the last few months is strongly recommended.

You should know that getting a perio maintenance may be slightly uncomfortable if the patient has inflamed gums, since it involves cleaning below the gum line and deeper into the pocket. However patients with good home care tend not to have much discomfort during this type of cleaning.

Other things that may be done during a perio maintenance appointment are healthy history update, radiographs, probing, oral hygiene instructions and an exam with the dentist if you're due for them.

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