Periodontist in Houston

The Importance of Periodontal Maintenance

Do you suffer from periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is very common and about half of Americans suffer from this. Genetics, diabetes smoking and hormonal changes are a few factors of gum disease.

American gum disease infographic

Symptoms include:

  • Red, tender and swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums when flossing and/or brushing your teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Pain during chewing
  • Bad breath
  • 5 mm deep gum pockets

What is Periodontal Maintenance?

Periodontal maintenance is a cleaning procedure performed to help maintain gum and bone health. This important dental treatment allows your teeth to be thoroughly cleaned and control progression of periodontal disease.

Normal teeth vs Periodontitis

Don’t Skip Periodontal Maintenance

Normally, patients visit a dentist twice a year for normal cleaning, also known as prophylaxis. During normal teeth cleaning, plaque is only removed from above the gum line, which can cause plaque to continue to grow below the gum line in patients suffering from gum disease.

Periodontal maintenance is required when the disease has caused destruction and further build-up of plaque and calculus would exacerbate the disease.

Importance of Periodontal Maintenance

Benefits of periodontal maintenance include:

  • Fresher Breath: Not even the best mints can mask stinky breath. Bad breath is an indicator of periodontal disease, which is caused by rotting food particles below your gum line, gum infection, and periodontal issues. During Periodontal maintenance, plaque, calculus, and bacteria are removed, which alleviates irritation and freshens up your breath.
  • Tartar Removal: Even the best brushing and flossing at home is not enough to remove debris, bacteria and gum pocket deposits, because specialized dental equipment and techniques are needed in order to treat problems like tartar, also known as calculus and plaque buildup.
  • Beautiful smile: Improve your aesthetics! Gain confidence again when you finally get rid of the teeth stains that never seemed to go away. Say bye to the yellow, stained teeth and say hello to a polished smile!
  • Improve Your Overall Health: Healthy gums lead to good overall health! Periodontal disease causes gum pockets to increase in depth, which increases a home for bacteria that can potentially travel to your bloodstream and infect other areas of your body. Keeping up with periodontal maintenance helps alleviate gum issues and reduce gum pocket depth, allowing you to remain healthy.

What Periodontal Maintenance Involves

Periodontal Maintenance is recommended every three to four months. Gum disease cannot be completely reversed, but it can be controlled with periodontal maintenance.

Steps during Periodontal Maintenance:

1.) Supragingival cleaning: The hygienist will thoroughly and carefully clean the area above the gum line to remove plaque and calculus.

2.) Subgingival cleaning: The hygienist will thoroughly and carefully clean the area below the gum line to remove plaque and calculus.

3.) Root Planing: The tooth root is smoothed to eliminate remaining bacteria.

4.) Medication: Following scaling and root planing, an antibiotic may be placed in the gum pockets for comfort and healthy healing in the gum pockets.

5.) X-ray and examination: X-rays reveal the extent of bone and gum recession, and also identify areas that may require attention.

The Stages of Gum Disease

Differences Between Periodontal Maintenance vs Regular Tooth Cleaning 

The primary differences between periodontal maintenance and regular cleaning lie in the focus, frequency, and techniques involved in each procedure.

  • Regular cleaning, also known as prophylaxis or a dental cleaning, is typically performed every six months for individuals with healthy gums and no signs of gum disease. During a regular cleaning, the dentist or dental hygienist will remove plaque, tartar, and surface stains from the teeth. They will also polish the teeth to make them smooth and shiny, followed by a fluoride treatment to strengthen the enamel.
  • On the other hand, periodontal maintenance is a more intensive cleaning procedure specifically designed for patients who have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease. Periodontal maintenance appointments are usually scheduled every three to four months to prevent the progression of the disease and maintain the health of the gums. During these visits, the dentist or hygienist will perform a deep cleaning, known as scaling and root planing, to remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria from below the gumline. They may also conduct a thorough examination of the gums to check for any signs of inflammation or infection.

In summary, while regular cleaning focuses on maintaining the overall oral health of individuals with healthy gums, periodontal maintenance is specifically tailored for patients with gum disease to prevent its progression and maintain gum health. The frequency and techniques used during each procedure differ to address the specific needs of the patient. 


At Bellaire Periodontics, we quickly determine whether you have gum disease by a very thorough examination. As always, thank you for being a part of our family at Bellaire Periodontics. If you have any questions, please call our office at (713) 636-9734">(713) 636-9734