Our team at Cosmetic and Family Dentistry, will emphasize excellent home preventive care to keep patients periodontal condition healthy and stabilized. At our practice, we are partners with our patients in developing the best possible treatment plans for treating periodontal disease (gum disease). At your exam, our hygienist and dentist will evaluate your gums, looking for redness, swelling, probe to check the height of bone and tissue, and check for other signs of infection. If you have periodontal disease, you may require scaling and root planing to remove the diseased deposits from the roots and teeth, which is the most conservative approach for treatment. Other treatment, including surgery, may also be required. After the disease process is under control, a regular hygiene recare appointment is no longer appropriate. Instead, you will require special ongoing gum and bone care procedures, known as Periodontal Maintenance Therapy, to keep the disease under control and keep your mouth healthy.
Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Because gum disease is normally painless, most patients don't know they have it. Gum Disease (Periodontal Disease) which is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, is constantly forming on our teeth. Plaque can become hard and crusted to the tooth turning into tartar (calculus)
Here are some warning signs that can signal a problem:
gums that bleed easily
red, swollen, tender gums
gums that have pulled away from the teeth
persistent bad breath or bad taste
permanent teeth that are loose or separating
any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
any change in the fit of partial dentures
Some factors increase the risk of developing gum disease. They are:
poor oral hygiene
smoking or chewing tobacco
crooked teeth that are hard to keep clean
medications, including steroids, certain types of anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, some calcium channel blockers and oral contraceptives
See your dentist if you suspect you have gum disease because the sooner you treat it the better.
Gum Disease Treatment Options
Scaling and Root Planing
When we first find periodontal disease, we treat it with scaling and root planing to remove plaque, tartar and bacteria from beneath your gum line. This treatment disrupts the growth of the bacteria; however, some bacteria remain and may settle back into the pocket where they reproduce. In fact, the number of bacteria doubles every time they reproduce, reaching destructive levels in as few as 90 days. Our dentist may also prescribe antibiotic therapy and antimicrobial mouth rinses to aid in the healing process. During this procedure anesthectic is normally admisitered for the patients comfort during the use of the ultrasonic, hand scalers and laser therapy for debridement of the pockets. Patients can plan their visits to be approximately 1-2 hours long. This procedure is a non-surgical approach to treating gum disease. When all sections of the mouth are completed the hygienist will do a follow up fine scale and polish appointment to evaluate healing of the tissue clinically along with reprobing the pockets. At this time the dentist and hygienist will discuss a Periodontal Maintenance Recare intervals of 3-4 Months.
3-4 Month Periodontal Maintenance Recare
While there is No Cure for periodontal disease, it can be managed or controlled. A 3-4 month Periodontal Maintenance Therapy Appointment/Recare is a Soft Tissue Management Program that is a non-surgical approach to Control Periodontal Disease. It is the most conservative approach to prevent more extensive and aggressive treatment.
The bacterium that causes periodontal disease re-establishes 3 months after treatment. A 3 Month Periodontal Maintenance Appointment is critically timed to disable the destructive process at its critical stage. This critical stage is when the bacteria and their poisons do the most harm to the supporting structures, namely, the periodontal attachment.
For patients with adult periodontitis, supportive 3-month Periodontal Maintenance Appointments is not an option – but a requirement for successful therapy. Waiting longer than three months for Recare may result in advanced inflammation and may require anesthesia to eliminate discomfort when treating.
Your Recare interval, whether 3 or 4 months, will be determined by the hygienist and the dentist to best manage your oral health. Very rarely would it be advisable to try a 6 month Recare schedule with known periodontal problems and history. This would result in putting the patient at risk for more breakdowns.
Therefore, we recommend that you maintain a 3-4 month Periodontal Maintenance Schedule, so the hygienist can access deeper pocket areas and disrupt the bacteria so that they do not continue to multiply and cause increases in pocket depth and additional bone loss.
Periodontal Disease Is Unpredictable
Periodontal disease left untreated can cause serious overall health problems. Research has linked periodontal disease to heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, premature births and low birth weight. Diabetics can have far more difficulty controlling their diabetes as well.
With such serious effects, we must do everything we can to help find and control periodontal disease. It can be a challenge to predict when the symptoms of periodontal disease may recur because frequently it does not cause any pain. It is also a challenge to determine where, as sometimes only isolated areas are affected. The only way to find and control periodontal disease is with a professional exam specifically aimed at targeting the disease.
Periodontal Maintenance visits help us break the stronghold of bacteria in your gums and slow or eliminate their destructive effects. When necessary we may also re-treat the teeth with scaling and root planing more than once or apply a medication, antimicrobial irrigation, or even prescribe an antibiotic.
Despite all of our best efforts to treat and control periodontal disease, sometimes it is not enough. Based on the desired response of treatment and patient follow through, the patient still may need to be referred to a Periodontist (gum specialist) as the next line of treatment.
Periodontal Disease Only Controlled
Keep in mind that periodontal disease cannot be cured; it can only be controlled. This is why we need to examine the health of your gums at least every three to four months. If periodontal disease is not closely monitored and controlled, the disease can quickly worsen, destroy bone and soft tissue, and eventually cause tooth loss.
At Cosmetic and Family Dentistry our trained professionals have many years of experience recognizing, controlling and treating periodontal disease. We have state of the art equipment to serve you in a comfortable and pain-free environment. With our expertise, knowledge and our dedicated staff we are determined to identify your individual needs and set a Recare System that is right for your individual oral health.
If you notice any signs and symptoms such as bleeding, inflammation, foul taste or odor coming from your gums; please call us immediately to schedule a consultation and assessment. Together we can help you control your periodontal disease.
But Insurance Only Covers Two Recare Visits A Year
We often hear, “but my insurance only covers 2 hygiene recare visits in a year”. Contrary to this common insurance restriction, we do not determine our patients Recare or Periodontal Maintenance Therapy schedule based on what insurance covers. We make our recommendations based on the actual clinical evaluation and always with the best interest of our patient’s oral health in mind. Some select Dental Insurance plans allow more than 2 hygiene recare visits based on if there are current health risk factors or periodontal procedures in the past. Most of our insured 3-4 month Periodontal Maintenance/Recare patients pay for one or two appointments a year out of pocket. By following the prescribed recommendation they avoid future problems such as extensive periodontal treatment, possible surgery, and the additional cost involved with these major treatments.
Realistically the 6 month prophylaxis (basic routine cleaning) appointment, covered by insurance, is reserved for those patients that have a healthy periodontium. The Recare system applies to those patients that have 1-3 millimeter probe depths with little to no bleeding. Even if you have not had scaling and root planing, we may recommend that you have your teeth cleaned every three to four months due to increases in probing depths, bleeding or changes in your health or oral condition. The reason for this 3-4 month recommended
Recare System is to prevent any further periodontal involvement and or treatment.