Congratulations! If you are reading this section, there is a good chance that you have recently completed deep cleanings (scaling and root planing) and/or surgical procedures to bring your gum disease (periodontitis) under control. You have invested a significant amount of time, energy, and expense to regain control of your oral health. To keep these improvements for years to come, the next step is periodontal maintenance therapy.
Periodontal maintenance utilizes periodic cleanings by your periodontist, general dentist, or dental hygienist to remove bacterial plaque and tartar from above and below your gums. Because you have already undergone procedures to bring your gum disease under control, these cleanings are typically simple and pain-free. Periodontal maintenance visits take about an hour and include an oral cancer examination to monitor the status of your overall health by Dr. Shumaker and Allen.
Periodontal maintenance cleanings are often rotated between your general dentist’s office and the office of your periodontist. This allows both members of your dental team to closely monitor your gingival health and any dental conditions that may affect it.
Periodontal maintenance cleanings are typically performed every 2 to 3 months. Why so often? The particular types of bacteria that are commonly associated with gum disease take about 6 to 8 weeks to reach levels high enough to cause damage to your gums and bone. Periodic maintenance cleanings reduce the numbers of these harmful bacteria, allowing beneficial harmless bacteria to take their place.
Multiple long term studies have documented that improvements in oral health following periodontal surgery may be maintained for decades with proper periodontal maintenance. These same studies have also shown that gum disease is likely to return and incidence of tooth loss can increase by nearly 500% when periodontal maintenance is ignored.
You have worked hard to improve your oral health. Stay healthy for years to come with periodontal maintenance therapy. If you have been told that you have moderate to advanced gum disease and want to save your teeth please contact the office at 970-207-4061 to schedule a consultation, or ask your general dentist for a referral.
Scaling and root planing helps eliminate plaque and bacteria under the gum line and in between teeth that cannot be addressed with routine oral hygiene. At Northern Colorado Periodontics in Fort Collins, CO, we provide this conservative treatment, also known as a deep cleaning, when the beginning stages of gum disease are detected and easily treatable. Dr. Nicolas Shumaker is a diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology and can use this simple, non-surgical periodontal treatment to restore gum health and reverse the effects of gum disease.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a bacterial infection that causes inflammation within the soft and hard tissues of the mouth. Our doctors are passionate about catching gum disease in its earliest stages to help protect your overall oral and physical health. When caught early, in its milder stage (gingivitis), side effects are manageable and often curable with conservative treatment such as scaling and root planing. If left untreated, it can lead to gum recession, bone loss, tooth decay, and other serious oral health concerns. Gum disease has also been linked to serious overall health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
The Scaling and Root Planing Procedure
During your consultation, Dr. Shumaker will evaluate the health of your teeth and gums using x-rays and the latest dental technology. These scans will allow our team to ensure that gum disease has not affected the underlying bone structure. In most cases, we will recommend a conservative scaling and root planing treatment, but for cases that require more aggressive treatment, we can provide periodontal surgery to restore your oral health.
Before beginning your procedure, we may numb the gums and surrounding tissue with a topical anesthetic. We can also provide oral conscious and intravenous (IV) sedation for patients that struggle with dental anxiety or phobia. Once you are comfortable, a member of our team will use a dental instrument known as a scaler to remove plaque buildup from the base of the tooth, in between teeth, and below the gum line. We will then use a root planing device to smooth any rough edges along the base of the tooth and root surface that prevent your gums from snuggly fitting around the tooth. This step also helps to prevent further bacteria from getting trapped below the gum line in the future. In some cases, we will use our advanced LANAP® technology to complete these steps using state-of-the-art lasers.
At Northern Colorado Periodontics, we can provide the conservative treatment you need to protect your oral health for years to come.
Once your teeth and gums have been adequately cleaned, we may apply an antibiotic gel along the treatment area to eliminate any further bacteria. Four to eight weeks after your treatment, you may require a follow-up visit so our doctors can evaluate your gum health and determine whether any further treatment is necessary.
Protect Your Smile
At Northern Colorado Periodontics, we can provide the conservative treatment you need to protect your oral health for years to come. To learn more about gum disease and the treatments we provide, contact our office today online or by calling (970) 614-4313 to schedule your consultation with our team.