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Due to the COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic and current restrictions imposed by Governor Inslee and the State of Washington Department of Health, our office will be temporarily closed for all but emergency dental care. This closure is expected to last until May 18th, at which time we expect to resume regular business hours and all patient care. If you are experiencing a dental emergency requiring immediate attention, you may contact Dr. Kay at (206) 915-8020. Thank you for your support and understanding during this challenging time.

Periodontal Maintenance

Diagram of teeth and gum cleaningPeriodontal maintenance involves the periodic removal of infection-causing bacteria and plaque from the gums in patients who have a history of periodontal disease. At Kevin Kay DDS Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, Dr. Kevin Kay recommends this treatment be performed every two to four months, depending on the severity of the disease.

Periodontal maintenance is advised after periodontal therapy and may continue for the entire life of the patient. The treatment involves removing bacteria from above and below the gumline, performing scaling and root planing on specific sites, and polishing of the teeth. If the disease recurs, surgical intervention may become necessary.

Periodontal maintenance is different from basic periodontal care or prophylaxis, which is purely preventive, and meant to control localized irritation factors before they exacerbate.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease starts with gingivitis, the inflammation of gums caused by bacterial plaque. The condition is marked by symptoms like swollen, irritated, and bleeding gums as well as persistent bad breath. Gingivitis can be reversed by good oral hygiene at home and periodic dental care. However, if allowed to progress, it can lead to much serious periodontitis.

Periodontitis is characterized by irreversible damage to the surrounding soft tissue of the teeth and gums. Deep gum pockets develop between the teeth and gums, causing the gums to recede. Bacteria invade these pockets and spread deeper into the gums and tooth. Eventually, if it goes untreated, periodontitis can result in tooth loss.

It is estimated that over 47 percent of Americans over the age of 30 suffer from chronic periodontitis.

Periodontitis Treatment

If we determine you have periodontitis, we will develop a treatment plan based on its severity. Some of the treatment options will include:
•  Tooth Scaling and Root Planing: This involves scraping off the accumulated tartar on the teeth with the help of ultrasonic vibrations and pointed dental equipment called scalers. The tooth root is then smoothed making it difficult for bacteria to attach to it.
•  Flap Surgery: If the pockets do not recede even after a deep cleaning, we may recommend a flap surgery. This involves pulling away the flap of gum to clean out the tartar underneath. The gum tissue is then sutured over the teeth so that the pockets are closed tight. Reducing the pockets lessens the risk of recurring infection and makes your teeth easier to clean.
•  Doxycycline: Doxycycline gel can be directly applied to the gum pockets to shrink the pockets and get rid of infection. Antibiotic oral pills can also prevent enzymes from breaking down the gum tissues after periodontal treatment.
•  Chlorhexidine Chip: A small chlorhexidine gelatin chip may also be placed inside the gum pockets before suturing them closed. These gel packets gradually release the antimicrobial agent to prevent infection.
•  Minocycline Microsphere: Minocycline particles can also be placed inside the gum tissue after a scaling and root planing procedure.

If you suspect you have gum disease, call us at (425) 738-8476 to schedule an appointment, and we will create a treatment plan for you.