Learn Which You Need: Prophylaxis or Periodontal Teeth Cleaning Maintenance
It is a common misconception among dental patients that there is only one kind of teeth cleaning needed to maintain a healthy mouth. But understanding the difference between prophylaxis and periodontal maintenance can help you see why your dentist might recommend one over the other and why that matters for your dental and overall health.
If you think of teeth cleaning as a spectrum, prophylaxis is on one end and periodontal maintenance on the other. That’s because prophylaxis is teeth cleaning for an already healthy mouth and is preventative in nature against disease. It includes tartar removal and leads to better mouth aesthetics, fresher breath and can be used to spot health issues early on, including oral cancers, diabetes and kidney problems.
Periodontal maintenance, on the other hand, is treatment for a mouth that is suffering from periodontal disease and so is in need of more aggressive and frequent care. Periodontal disease in a spectrum in and of itself, ranging from simple inflammation of the gums to a more advanced state of the disease that can result in damage to the soft tissue of the mouth, bone loss and even the loss of teeth.
While periodontal disease is not curable, it is very treatable, meaning regular maintenance at home and by dental professionals can help you sidestep the very serious problems that can result from periodontal disease.
Risk factors for periodontal disease include smoking, hormonal changes in women and girls, diabetes and other diseases and their treatment and medications and being predisposed to it through genetics.
Signs that indicate periodontal disease are:
- Bad breath that won’t go away
- Red or swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Receding gums or longer appearing teeth
The team at Downtown Dental Associates of Portland wants you to be educated about the best approach to oral care for you and your family. Please feel free to ask us questions about your dental health and treatment options.