What Is A Periodontal Maintenance Appointment?
If you have periodontal disease, you may require scaling and root planning to remove the calculus and bacterial deposites from the teeth and roots, this is the most conservative treatment approach to prevent more extensive and aggressive treatment. Other treatment, including surgery, may also be required in areas that do not resolve.
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 (PMT), to keep the disease under control and keep your mouth healthy.
Why is a 3-4 Month Periodontal Maintenance Recare Visit important?
Periodontal disease cannot be cured, but it can be managed with a 3-4 month Periodontal Maintenance Appointment. The fact is, the number of bacteria doubles every time they reproduce, and reach destructive levels in just 90 days. This critical stage is when the toxins do the most damage to the supporting structures, mainly, the periodontal attachment.
Therefore, we recommend that you maintain a 3-4 month Periodontal Maintenance Schedule, so the hygienist can reach deeper pockets and disrupt the bacteria so that they do not continue to multiply, which will cause increased pocket depths and additional bone loss. When necessary we may also re-treat the teeth with scaling and root planning more than once or irrigate the pockets with anantimicrobial or use laser therapy.
For patients with periodontitis, a 3 or 4month Periodontal Maintenance Appointmentsis not optional – but a necessary for successful therapy. Your Recare interval, whether 3 or 4 months, will be determined by the hygienist and the dentist to best manage your oral health. Rarely would it be advised 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.
But Insurance Only Covers Two Recare Visits A Year
We often hear, “But my insurance only covers 2 hygiene recare visits in a year.” We do not determine our patients Recare or Periodontal Maintenance Therapy schedule based on what insurance covers. Our recommendations are made based on the actual clinical evaluation and always with the best interest of our patient’s oral health in mind. Most of our insured 3-4 month Periodontal Maintenance/Recare patients pay for one appointment 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.
In reality 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 mm 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
Periodontal Disease Is NOT predictable
It can be a difficult to predict when the symptoms of periodontal disease may recur because often it does not cause any pain. It is also a hard to determine where, as sometimes only isolated areas are affected. Despite all of our best efforts to treat and control periodontal disease at the general dental office, sometimes it is not enough. Based on the desired response of treatment and patient compliance, the patient may still need to be referred to a Periodontist (gum specialist) as the next line of treatment.
You may ask what is Scaling and root planning and how is it different from a regular cleaning,
look for next blog to find the answer.
Angela Loza, R.D.H.