Periodontal disease has different stages which are often silent and painless. But if it is left untreated, it may involve loss of supporting bone and, eventually, teeth. Clinical studies are now linking periodontal disease and the bacteria associated with oral health problems to serious conditions such as heart and cardiovascular disease, hardening of the arteries, obesity, diabetes and osteoporosis.
If you are a smoker, have diabetes, have a weakened immune system, are prone to getting cavities or currently have gum disease, your dentist may ask you to come in more frequently.
Patients with a history of periodontal disease need a deeper cleaning from a hygienist or a periodontist because they have formed “pockets.” Pockets are spaces between the teeth and gums that can trap plaque and tartar. With regular deep cleanings, the pockets can shrink and the gums can become healthier.
Once the periodontal disease is brought under control with treatment, it is very important that you receive periodontal maintenance care on a regular basis to preserve the progress made. Your dentist and hygienist may recommend treatment every three to four months, or even more often. Cleaning your mouth daily at home is a must, but it is not enough to keep periodontal disease in check.
Professional cleanings are like insurance for your smile. The investment can save you thousands of dollars in the long run, as smaller problems diagnosed along the way can prevent much bigger problems from occurring later on.