Regular Teeth Cleaning vs. Periodontal Maintenance

A periodontal maintenance is also a teeth cleaning, however, it is performed on patients who have gum disease. 

We treat thousands of patients in the Sacramento area, and only about 40 percent of our patients receive a “regular cleaning” or prophylaxis. The reason is because gum disease affects 3 out of 4 Americans.

What happens during a “regular” teeth cleaning is the hygienist removes plaque and tarter from all visible teeth surfaces as well as in between the teeth. Additionally, the hygienist will remove any plaque that is irritating the gums. There is no additional work that needs to be done because the patient has healthy gum tissue.

During a periodontal maintenance the hygienist performs the same services as a regular teeth cleaning and then they take it a few steps further.by removing plaque from “pockets” created by the gum disease. The pocket is formed between the gums and the tooth and collects excess amounts of plaque that can only be removed by a dental professional. These pockets are not visible to the naked eye and require extra time and skill to clean.


A periodontal maintenance is suggested to be performed every 3-4 months on patients with gums disease after they receive a deep cleaning, also known as scaling & root planning. The reason for this is because scientific studies show that the bacteria that causes gum disease returns after about 12 weeks.

If you have questions about why you receive a periodontal maintenance make sure to contact your dental hygienist for clarification.

Author
Dr. Owyoung Andrew Owyoung, DDS, has been providing comprehensive family dental care for 29 years to the Sacramento area. Widely considered a top dentist in Sacramento, the staff at Soft Touch Dentistry are equipped with the knowledge, experience, and equipment to deliver an unparalleled dental experience.

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