Prophy VS. Perio Maintenance
Gum conditions can be categorized in to two general categories. The first is a completely reversible disease known as gingivitis. Gingivitis occurs when the gums become inflamed due to abnormal and excessive plaque buildup. A traditional dental cleaning called a “prophy” every 3-6 months and good oral hygiene habits can often resolve this condition.
When gingivitis is untreated the continued inflammation begins to breakdown the ligaments and bone that surround and hold the teeth in place. This condition is generally a slow process and is known as periodontitis. The initial stages of periodontitis can be effectively treated and managed with a non-surgical procedure called scaling and root planning (Sc/RP). The goal of Sc/RP is to smooth off root surfaces, cleaning any tartar build up and plaque accumulation to prevent bacteria from attaching themselves to the tooth and cause further destruction. Once periodontitis progresses to more severe condition, usually surgery is required to repair the bone and make the teeth more cleansable.
After scaling and root planning are performed, patients will return for periodic periodontal maintenance visits every three, four, or six months. At these visits, the hygienist will perform a traditional prophy, as well as a focused cleaning around the teeth that have been root planed in order to maintain the health and stability of the diseased tissue.