The Difference Between Routine Cleaning & Periodontal Therapy

We have many patients that wonder the difference between a prophylaxis (routine cleaning) and periodontal therapy, so we wanted to highlight a few key differences.

Routine Cleaning/Prophylaxis:  Patients who do not have bone loss, periodontal disease or an infection around the teeth are scheduled for a routine cleaning with one of our dental hygienists.  There should be no bleeding, swelling or signs of infection present.

A routine cleaning or prophylaxis removes soft plaque, tartar, and stains from the teeth from above the gum line.  These cleanings are usually done 2 to 3 times a year.

Periodontal Therapy

If your hygienist is recommending Periodontal Therapy it is because you have gum disease that has resulted in bone loss, bleeding gums and/or exposed root surfaces and a routine cleaning is not enough to get your mouth back to health. This procedure includes removal of plaque, tartar, bacteria, and toxins from above and below the gum line, all the way down the length of each tooth to where the root and gum meet the bone. Tissues are irrigated to remove residual bacteria and antibiotics are placed locally to aid in the removal of the infection.  Periodontal Therapy is an initial therapy that is followed up by regular Periodontal Maintenance appointments every 3-4 months depending on your individual needs

Periodontal Maintenance

Periodontal Maintenance is usually performed 3 to 4 times a year, depending on several factors: how quickly the plaque and tartar accumulate, how much bleeding or inflammation is present, how stable the present condition is, how well you are able to maintain your teeth at home on a daily basis, and any health risk factors you may have.  Periodontal maintenance treats areas above and below the gum line as needed to maintain gum and bone health. Pocket depths are carefully monitored and areas of active inflammation are treated with irrigation and antibiotics as necessary to restore health.

Studies have shown that there is an increased risk of heart disease with those that have periodontal disease. In fact, it increases your risk by up to 28%.  It is a scary reality. The cause of this is unknown but experts do believe that the risk is increased due to the bacteria in plaque and the bacteria associated with gingivitis and periodontal disease enter the blood stream, which then affects the whole body.   Our job is to keep the gums and the bone surrounding your teeth as healthy as possible.

If you would like to learn more or schedule your next cleaning please call us today and we will take care of you!