Once a patient has completed the “active” phase of periodontal treatment with Dr. Batos, their periodontal disease is under control.
The next step is maintenance therapy, a personalized program of care to keep your gums healthy.
The watchword of maintenance therapy is prevention. Its goal is to protect your periodontal health. Through proper home care and maintenance therapy visits, you have an excellent chance of keeping your teeth for a lifetime.
What is maintenance therapy?
With Dr. Batos, maintenance therapy is an ongoing program designed to prevent disease in the gum tissues and bone supporting your teeth. The building blocks of this program are simple: conscientious care of your mouth at home and regular maintenance visits with your dentist and periodontist.
Why is maintenance therapy important?
As you have learned, you are susceptible to gum disease. The main cause of gum disease is bacterial plaque, a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. Toxins (or poisons) produced by the bacteria in plaque constantly attack your gums and teeth. If the plaque is not removed, it hardens into a rough, porous deposit called calculus, or tartar.
Daily oral hygiene including brushing and flossing will keep the formation of calculus to a minimum, but it won’t completely prevent it. Now matter how careful you are in cleaning your teeth and gums, bacterial plaque can cause a recurrence of gum disease from two to four months after your last professional cleaning. To keep your teeth and gums healthy, a dental professional must check for potential hidden problems and remove the hardened plaque at a time interval appropriate for you.
Who should perform maintenance care?
The answer depends upon the patient and the severity of the disease prior to treatment. Generally, the more severe your initial problem, the more the periodontist needs to oversee your care. The responsibility for periodontal maintenance will be worked out between you, your general dentist and your periodontist.
What is included in a maintenance visit?
Your maintenance visit may include:
discussing any changes in your health history
examining your mouth tissues or abnormal changes
measuring the depth of pockets around the teeth
assessing your oral hygiene habits and providing instruction
cleaning your teeth to remove bacterial plaque and calculus
taking necessary images to evaluate the teeth and the bone supporting the teeth
examining your teeth for decay and other dental problems
checking the way your teeth fit together when you bite
applying or prescribing medications to reduce tooth sensitivity or other problems.
How often should I have maintenance visits?
This decision is based upon your periodontal condition. The interval between maintenance visits varies between patients from every few weeks to every six months.
Everyone’s situation is different. The frequency of maintenance visits will be influenced by:
different types of periodontal diseases
different types of periodontal treatment
different patient response to treatment
different rates of plaque growth
Last, but certainly not least, the frequency of your maintenance visits will be influenced by your personal commitment to good oral care at home.
Are maintenance visits worth the cost?
Without question! Maintenance visits help protect your periodontal health and prevent future dental problems. By treating disease in the early stages, you save time and unnecessary discomfort in the long run. Simply put, a maintenance visit is a wise investment in your dental health.
If you have dental insurance, it may pay for just one dental examination every six months. Because you are susceptible to periodontal disease, you may need to be seen more often. You may need to cover the cost personally for some of your maintenance visits.
Will I be protected from unnecessary X-rays?
Dr. Batos takes images only when essential for the diagnosis of your periodontal health. The images are shared with your general dentist.
Images show aspects of your oral health that a visual exam cannot. They aid in early detection of disease, an important part of prevention.