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Maintenance Therapy

Periodontal disease is a chronic (long-lasting) problem. It can return if you don't get regular follow-up care. You also must pay careful attention to oral hygiene at home.

Maintenance usually includes visits with your dentist, periodontist or hygienist. They may occur two to four times a year. How often you need to go will depend on several factors:

  • Whether you have mild, moderate or severe periodontal disease
  • Whether your disease tends to come back
  • Whether your risk of periodontal disease is higher than average. Reasons for a high risk include:
    • Poor brushing and flossing habits
    • Certain diseases and medicines
    • Smoking

A typical maintenance visit may include:

  • A periodontal examination
  • A look at the amount of plaque on your teeth
  • An evaluation of your oral hygiene
  • A review of the proper techniques for brushing, flossing or other methods of cleaning
  • Cleaning and polishing of your teeth, including the removal of plaque, calculus (tartar) and stains
  • X-rays
  • Treatment of tooth sensitivity

If your teeth are very sensitive, you may need anesthesia before cleanings. This may be applied to the area or injected.

If your periodontal disease continues to return, your dentist or periodontist may suggest changes in treatment. The main aim of follow-up care is to reduce the chance that the disease will come back. If your disease does return, it is likely to be less severe if you have received regular care. It may be in a smaller area and more easily treated than in people who skip most maintenance visits.

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© 2002-2014 Aetna, Inc. All rights reserved. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues and consult your physician before starting a new fitness regimen. Use of this online service is subject to the disclaimer and the terms and conditions. External website links provided on this site are meant for convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement. These external links open in a different window.