The Three Month Treadmill

 

You hear it all the time.  You visit the dentist and the hygienist says to you, “I’d like to see you every three months for a scaling.”

And you think to yourself, “Why do I have to get my teeth cleaned so often?”  Well, here’s why.

Periodontal disease cannot be cured; it can only be controlled. That is why we need to examine the health of your gums at least every three months or sooner. If periodontal disease is not closely monitored and controlled, the disease can quickly worsen, destroy bone and soft tissue, and eventually cause you to lose teeth.

When we first find periodontal disease, we treat it with scaling and root planing to remove plaque, tartar and bacteria from beneath your gumline.

This treatment disrupts the growth of the bacteria, but 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.

It can be challenging to predict where in your mouth the symptoms of periodontal disease may recur or when, and frequently, it does not hurt. The only way to find and control periodontal disease is with a professional exam that specifically looks for the disease. This also means that a twice-a-year cleaning schedule just is not safe for those who have periodontal disease.

It is important that you come in every three months, or more, for a periodontal maintenance appointment which may include:

  • measuring the depth of periodontal pockets.
  • checking for loose teeth or bleeding gums.
  • removing plaque above and below the gumline.
  • talking with you about the effectiveness of your homecare.

Periodontal maintenance visits help us break the stronghold of bacteria in your gums and slow or eliminate their destructive effects.