Dr. Jose Arauz of Carolina Dental Specialty Center (DSC) is warning those living with periodontal disease, whether knowingly or not, that regular cleanings are not enough and could lead to further tooth decay or loss of teeth.
According to Arauz, a regular cleaning — or prophylaxis — removes soft plaque, tartar, and stains from teeth above and slightly below the gum line and is typically conducted two to three times a year. While prophylaxis is recommended as a preventive measure to avoid periodontal disease, those who already have periodontal diseases need what’s called “periodontal maintenance therapy,” a standard procedure recommended for those experiencing bone loss, gum “pockets” deeper than 4 millimeters, bleeding gums and exposed root surfaces.
“While both procedures may seem very similar, the truth is regular cleanings are not enough for those with periodontal disease and may lead to further tooth loss if not undergoing regular periodontal maintenance,” said Arauz, a periodontist practicing medicine for 20 years. “Periodontal maintenance includes removal of plaque and tartar from exposed portions of the teeth and above the gum line — all the way to where the root, bone and gum come together. We also smooth our rough areas of the roots, monitor pocket depths, and treat inflamed or infected pockets with antiseptic medicines if necessary.”
According to Arauz, periodontal maintenance should be performed every three months or more depending on a patient’s accumulation rate of tartar and plaque, how much inflammation or infection is occurring, the severity of loose teeth and other risk factors.
Some symptoms of periodontal disease include puffy, swollen, tender or receding gums, painful chewing, loose teeth, spaces developing between teeth and bad breath.
Typically, periodontal maintenance is considered a basic service by insurance carriers rather than preventive care, and may be subject to a yearly deductible.
To schedule a consultation or for more information on Carolina Dental Specialty Center, please call (910) 577-1315.