Beyond the Brush: The Importance of Periodontal Maintenance for a Healthy Smile

Discover the importance of periodontal maintenance, its cost, what to expect during cleaning and FAQs. Your guide to a healthy smile!

Nadia Lushow

6/16/20237 min read

What is Periodontal Maintenance?

Periodontal maintenance is a crucial aspect of maintaining good oral health. It involves the ongoing care and management of gum disease, which is also known as periodontitis. This disease affects the supporting structures of teeth, including bone and gum tissue, leading to tooth loss if left untreated.

Periodontal maintenance is designed to prevent the progression of the disease, stabilize the gums and teeth, and maintain overall oral health. Periodontal cleaning is an essential component of periodontal maintenance.

It involves removing plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line using specialized tools such as ultrasonic scalers. Plaque is a sticky film that forms on teeth throughout the day and can harden into tartar if not removed promptly.

Tartar can irritate gums, leading to inflammation that can cause bleeding, swelling, discomfort or pain. During a periodontal cleaning, dental professionals will also evaluate your gum tissue's health by measuring pockets between your teeth and gums with a probe.

Pockets greater than 3mm deep indicate gum disease since healthy gums fit snugly around teeth without spaces or gaps between them. Effective periodontal maintenance requires regular appointments with your dental professional every three to four months in most cases.

The frequency may vary depending on your individual treatment plan's needs. By adhering to rigorous personal oral hygiene practices such as brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, flossing at least once a day, eating a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables while avoiding sugary snacks or drinks can help prevent further damage or progression of gum disease.

Periodontal maintenance plays an essential role in preventing tooth loss caused by gum disease by providing thorough cleanings above and below the gum line regularly along with personalized plans created for each patient's needs by their dental professional. With routine visits to your dentist for check-ups every six months or as recommended by them along with healthy lifestyle habits like proper diet choices combined with good oral hygiene habits, you can maintain optimal oral health and a beautiful smile for many years to come.

What Happens During a Periodontal Cleaning?

When it comes to periodontal maintenance, one of the most important components is periodontal cleaning. This type of cleaning is different from a regular teeth cleaning and involves a more in-depth process to remove plaque and calculus buildup from below the gumline. Here's what you can expect during a periodontal cleaning:

First, your dental hygienist will use a tool called a probe to measure the space between your teeth and gums. This will help determine if there are any areas where pockets have formed due to gum disease.

Next, they will use an ultrasonic scaler to remove any plaque and calculus buildup from around your teeth and below the gumline. The scaler uses gentle vibrations and water to break up the tartar, making it easier to remove.

After using the ultrasonic scaler, your hygienist may switch to hand scaling tools that allow them better access to tight spaces between teeth and around tooth roots. These tools resemble mini scrapers or hooks that gently scrape away any remaining debris from below the gumline.

Once all of the plaque and calculus has been removed from your teeth, your hygienist will polish them using an abrasive paste that helps remove surface stains and smooth out rough spots on tooth enamel. They may apply fluoride treatment to help strengthen enamel and prevent future decay.

Overall, a periodontal cleaning is designed to thoroughly clean below the gumline where regular brushing or flossing cannot reach. It's an important part of periodontal maintenance because it helps prevent further damage caused by gum disease while promoting healthy gums for optimal oral health.

How Long Does Periodontal Maintenance Take?

Periodontal maintenance, also known as periodontal cleaning, is a crucial element in maintaining the overall health of your teeth and gums. One of the most common questions people ask about periodontal maintenance is how long it takes.

The answer to this question depends on several factors, including the severity of your gum disease and the extent of any necessary treatment. In general, a typical periodontal cleaning appointment can take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half.

However, if you have more advanced gum disease or require additional treatment such as root planing or scaling, your appointment may take longer. Additionally, if you have areas of your mouth that are harder to access or require more attention due to pocket depth or other factors related to gum disease, your appointment may also take longer.

During a periodontal cleaning appointment, your dental hygienist will use specialized tools to remove plaque and tartar buildup from around your teeth and gums. This process can take some time since these hard deposits can be difficult to remove without special equipment.

After removing these deposits, your hygienist will then thoroughly clean all areas of your mouth using both manual and powered tools. Overall, while periodontal maintenance appointments may take longer than regular teeth cleanings due to the nature of gum disease treatment and careful cleaning techniques used during this type of cleaning procedure; it is important not to skip them as they are essential for preventing further damage that could lead to tooth loss in advanced cases.

What’s the Difference Between Periodontal Maintenance and a Regular Teeth Cleaning?

When it comes to oral health, many people assume that routine cleanings and check-ups are enough to maintain healthy teeth and gums. However, for individuals with periodontal disease, regular teeth cleaning may not be enough. In these cases, periodontal maintenance is necessary to keep the gums and bone healthy.

A regular teeth cleaning involves removing plaque and tartar buildup from the teeth above the gum line. While this can help prevent cavities and gum disease, it does not address the presence of bacteria beneath the gum line that can cause inflammation and damage to the bone supporting the teeth.

Periodontal maintenance, on the other hand, involves a deeper cleaning that addresses these issues. During a periodontal cleaning, a dental hygienist or periodontist will use special instruments to remove plaque buildup from below the gum line.

This process is known as scaling and root planing. The hygienist will also smooth out rough spots on tooth roots where bacteria tend to accumulate.

This helps prevent further buildup of bacteria in those areas. Periodontal maintenance appointments typically take longer than regular teeth cleanings due to their more extensive nature.

The procedure can take anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours depending on how much work needs to be done. Patients may require multiple appointments if their condition is severe or has not been addressed in some time.

The frequency of periodontal maintenance appointments will depend on an individual's specific needs. In general, patients with moderate-to-severe periodontitis may need treatment every three months while those with mild cases may only require treatment every six months or once per year.

Regular check-ups with a dentist or periodontist can help determine how often this type of deep cleaning is necessary. While routine teeth cleanings are crucial for maintaining good oral health, they may not be enough for individuals with periodontal disease.

Periodic deep cleanings known as periodontal maintenance are necessary to address bacteria beneath the gum line and maintain healthy teeth and gums. By understanding the differences between these two types of cleanings, patients can take proactive steps in maintaining their oral health.

How Much Does a Periodontal Cleaning Cost?

When it comes to maintaining healthy gums and preventing periodontal disease, regular visits to the dentist for a periodontal cleaning are essential. But how much does this type of cleaning cost? The answer can vary depending on a few factors, such as the severity of your gum disease and where you live.

On average, a periodontal cleaning can cost anywhere from $140 to $300 per visit. This is significantly more expensive than a routine cleaning, which typically costs between $75 to $200.

However, it's important to keep in mind that periodontal cleanings are more involved procedures that require specialized tools and techniques. In some cases, insurance may cover some or all the cost of a periodontal cleaning.

However, it's important to check with your provider ahead of time to see what your plan covers. Some plans have restrictions on how often you can receive this type of cleaning or may only cover a certain percentage of the cost.

If you're concerned about the cost of periodontal maintenance, talk to your dentist about payment options or financing plans that may be available. Many dental practices offer flexible payment plans so that patients can get the care they need without breaking the bank.

Overall, while periodontal cleanings may be more expensive than routine cleanings, they are an important part of maintaining healthy gums and preventing gum disease. If you're due for a visit with your dentist and haven't had a periodontal cleaning in over six months, schedule one soon – your gums will thank you!

Frequently asked Questions

1. How often should I get a periodontal cleaning?

The frequency of periodontal cleanings depends on individual cases. However, in general, it is recommended to schedule a periodontal cleaning at least twice a year. If you have gum disease or a history of gum disease, your dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings to help manage the condition.

2. Will the periodontal cleaning be painful?

Most patients report that periodontal cleaning is not painful and is like a regular teeth cleaning. However, if you have sensitive teeth or gums, you may experience some discomfort during the procedure. Your dentist can provide options to help manage any discomfort during the cleaning.

3. Can I eat after a periodontal cleaning?

Yes, you can eat it after a periodontal cleaning. However, it is best to wait until any numbness from anesthesia has worn off before eating to avoid accidentally biting your lip or cheek.

4. Does insurance cover the cost of a periodontal cleaning?

Many dental insurance plans cover the cost of preventive care such as teeth cleanings and check-ups, including periodic maintenance procedures like periodontal cleanings. It's always wise to check with your dental insurance provider beforehand to understand what services are covered under your plan.

Taking care of our oral health through regular hygiene practices such as brushing and flossing and professional dental cleanings like the periodontal cleaning are crucial steps in preventing gum disease and maintaining an overall healthy mouth. By understanding what happens during these procedures and how often they should be performed, patients can take control of their oral health and work towards achieving optimal dental wellness for life!


Periodontal maintenance is an essential part of oral health care that helps prevent gum disease and other oral health problems. By following a regular schedule of periodontal cleaning, patients can ensure that their teeth and gums remain healthy and strong.

One of the most significant benefits of periodontal maintenance is its ability to reduce the risk of dental problems in the future. Regular visits to the dentist for periodontal cleaning can help identify potential issues before they become larger and more complex problems.

This proactive approach to dental care can help patients save both time and money in the long run. It's important to note that periodontal cleaning is not a substitute for good oral hygiene practices at home.

Patients should continue to brush their teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, floss daily, and maintain a healthy diet to support good oral health. Patients who suffer from gum disease or other oral health problems should know that there are treatment options available.

With proper care, including regular periodontal maintenance appointments, patients can effectively manage their symptoms and avoid more serious complications. By prioritizing proper dental care—including regular check-ups and cleanings—patients can take control of their oral health and enjoy a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.