If you have periodontal (gum) disease, you may already have had a special cleaning called “Scaling and
Root Planing.” You also may have had periodontal surgery. The regular cleanings recommended after
those treatments are called “periodontal maintenance care.” The purpose of the cleanings is to help you
maintain healthy gums. Once periodontal disease is brought under control with treatment, it is very
important that you get dental care on a regular basis. Cleaning your mouth daily at home is a must, but
it is not enough to keep periodontal disease in check. Professional care is needed to help control
Periodontal maintenance involves a cleaning that is deeper than a normal cleaning in the dental office.
Patients with a history of periodontal disease need deeper cleanings because periodontal “pockets”
have formed. Pockets are spaces between the teeth and gums where plaque and tartar form. Plaque is
a sticky film of bacteria that is always forming on your teeth. If plaque stays on teeth, it can harden into
a rough surface called tartar (also called calculus). Tartar can only be removed when teeth are cleaned in
the dental office.
With regular deep cleanings, the plaque bacteria are reduced. Then the infection can get better, pockets
can shrink and your gums can become healthier. Once gums are healthy, regular cleanings can help keep
them infection-free. Your dentist may also prescribe and use medicines to help reduce the periodontal