When disease is found in its Early Stages
If you catch Gingivitis, otherwise known as Gum Disease, early enough, it is relatively simple to treat and maintain. The treatment consists of a thorough regular cleaning, although you might need to be numbed for comfort. With Gingivitis the damage done is reversible. The maintenance is usually a regular 6 month cleaning also known as a Prophylaxis (Prophy). In addition to this, it is recommended that you maintain a healthy personal homecare routine to avoid the reoccurrence of Gingivitis.
When disease is found in its Later Stages
Periodontal Disease is not reversible. It is commonly treated with Scaling and Root Planning, otherwise known as “a deep cleaning,” First the areas are numbed, and then all the plaque, tartar, and toxins are removed from the roots of the teeth and the gum pockets. In addition, rough spots on the teeth are smoothened to stop them from becoming places where bacteria reattach and cause disease again. A prescription mouthwash may be recommended to aid in the control of the infection, inflammation, and expedite your healing. An electric toothbrush will be prescribed in order to help you maintain your teeth and gums in the best condition possible. In more advanced cases, Scaling and Root Planning might not be enough to effectively treat the disease, and you may need to see a gum specialist for Periodontal Surgery. The maintenance for patients that have been treated for Periodontal Disease is called Periodontal Maintenance and the frequency of the maintenance visits is based on the patient’s individual condition.
What is the difference between a Prophylaxis and a Periodontal Maintenance visit?
A Prophylaxis (Prophy) is a regular dental cleaning for patients that do not have a significant buildup of plaque and tartar under the gums. They do not have deep pockets or bleeding gums. These patients have healthy gums, exhibit excellent home care, and typically come in every 6 months. Basically speaking, Prophys are for healthy mouths.
A Periodontal Maintenance is the necessary maintenance for patients who have been treated for Periodontal Disease. While Periodontal Disease is not “curable”, it can be controlled. The goal of Periodontal Maintenance is to clean out the pockets often enough to not allow the bacteria to reseed itself again and deposit plaque, tartar and toxins, the culprits that caused the damage in the first place. Because there are deeper pockets, one needs to be more vigilant. A regular cleaning/prophy does not access the deeper pockets found in Periodontal Disease. Dental professionals are skilled in accessing the deep pockets that patients simply cannot get to with regular brushing and flossing. The interval of time between visits is usually about 3 months, but this may vary based on the individual’s condition and homecare.