You know the phrase–an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Most adults would highly benefit from having their teeth cleaned every 3 months. The recommendation of 6 months is simply outdated. Also, for people who have had periodontal disease actively treated and under control, a regular 6-month cleaning is no longer appropriate. In most cases, periodontal disease is a lifelong condition that never goes away. It must be managed or controlled. A 3-month periodontal maintenance program is a non-surgical, conservative effort to lower the chances of periodontal disease returning and can prevent you from needing more extensive, aggressive treatment. Not to mention, it is always less expensive to prevent than to treat!
Why Every 3 Months?
The bacterium that causes periodontal disease re-establishes within 3 months of treatment. A 3-month periodontal maintenance cleaning is critically timed to disable the destructive progress at this stage. This is the stage where the bacterium and their toxins do the most harm to your supporting structures. Waiting longer than three months may result in advanced inflammation. It would almost never be advisable to go back to 6-month cleanings with known periodontal problems and history. Supportive, 3-month maintenance cleanings are not an option—but a requirement for successful therapy.
But Insurance Only Covers 2 Cleanings a Year
We hear this often. Contrary to this common insurance restriction, we do not determine our patients’ maintenance therapy schedule based on what insurance covers. We make our recommendations based on actual clinical evaluation and data and always with your best interest in mind. The insurance company’s best interest is their “bottom line”. Realistically, the 6-month basic cleaning schedule is reserved for those patients that have never had periodontal disease or gum treatment such as gum grafting or dental implants.
Periodontal Disease is Unpredictable and a Major Link to Your Systemic Health
Periodontal disease left untreated can cause serious overall health problems. Research has linked gum disease to heart disease, stroke, premature births, kidney, and pancreatic cancer to name a few. Also, diabetics can have far more difficulty controlling their diabetes. Also, if you have dental implants and uncontrolled periodontal disease, you have a much higher rate of implant failure. With such serious consequences, we must do everything we can to detect, treat, and control periodontal disease.
Keep in mind that periodontal disease cannot be cured; it can only be controlled. A 3-month periodontal maintenance program is a critical part of your success and oral health!