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  • Writer's pictureDr Samintharaj Kumar

Why is Continuous Periodontal Supportive Care a Must?

Our oral health is intricately connected to our overall well-being, with gum health playing a pivotal role. Periodontal supportive care is indispensable in fostering healthy gums and thwarting gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis. I hope this brief summary sufficiently addresses your questions about this condition.

Understanding Periodontal Disease:

Periodontal disease, an infection of the gums, can culminate in tooth loss if untreated. It stems from the accumulation of plaque and tartar, housing bacteria that assail the soft gum tissue encasing the teeth. Early manifestations encompass redness, swelling, and bleeding of gums. Routine dental check-ups aid in detecting these signs and impede the advancement of periodontal disease.

Fortunately, diligent treatment in the form of thorough cleaning and regular monitoring can halt the progression of Periodontal Disease for most patients, allowing them to maintain a stable oral health status and preserve their natural teeth. This not only benefits the individual's oral health but also spares them from the expense and inconvenience of extensive dental procedures such as implants, bridges, or dentures to replace lost teeth.

In a dental setting, the systemic phase of treatment involves an initial oral examination to identify any risk factors that may contribute to periodontal disease or hinder treatment outcomes. This examination typically includes:

Medical History Review:

The dentist or periodontist will review the patient's medical history to identify any systemic conditions or medications that may affect periodontal health, such as diabetes or blood dyscrasias.

Risk Factor Assessment:

The clinician will assess lifestyle factors such as smoking, poor oral hygiene habits, and genetic predisposition to periodontal disease that may increase the patient's risk of developing or exacerbating periodontitis.

Clinical Examination:

A comprehensive clinical examination of the oral cavity will be conducted to evaluate the extent and severity of periodontal disease, including assessment of gum inflammation, probing depths, tooth mobility, and presence of plaque and calculus.

Following the systemic phase, the treatment typically progresses through several stages:

Infection Control Phase:

This phase aims to eliminate or control the bacterial infection within the periodontal tissues. It involves deep thorough debridement over multiple appointments, often with the use of local anaesthesia or minor surgical procedures such as access surgery to push the gum back and gain better access to infected areas.

Formal Post-Initial Phase Review:

After completion of the infection control phase, a formal review is conducted to assess treatment outcomes and determine if any areas require additional targeted treatment. Adjunctive tests may be performed to rule out systemic factors contributing to periodontal disease, and targeted antibiotic therapy may be considered if indicated.

Corrective Phase:

Once the active infection has been addressed and inflammation levels have reduced, the corrective phase focuses on restoring the oral structures damaged by periodontal disease. This may involve procedures such as tooth replacement for missing teeth or general dental reconstruction to improve function and aesthetics.

Supportive Care/Maintenance Phase:

Following completion of active treatment, the patient transitions to the supportive care or maintenance phase. This phase involves regular monitoring of periodontal health through periodic appointments typically scheduled every three to six months. During these appointments, professional cleanings, periodontal examinations, and preventive interventions are performed to maintain oral health and prevent recurrence of periodontal disease.

The Role of Periodontal Supportive Care:

Proactive in nature, periodontal supportive care entails professional cleanings – scaling and root planning – to eradicate plaque and tartar lurking beneath the gum line. This process eradicates the bacterial onslaught and fosters gum tissue rejuvenation. Additionally, specific oral hygiene instructions are given to maintain optimal gum health between appointments.

Benefits of Ongoing Supportive Care:

Continuous periodontal supportive care confers myriad advantages:

a. Prevention: By obliterating plaque and tartar buildup, the likelihood of gum disease is markedly diminished. Timely detection and intervention forestall the escalation to severe conditions necessitating extensive dental intervention.

b. Sustaining Optimal Oral Health: Ensuring robust and healthy gums fortifies their ability to uphold teeth, averting tooth loss and the requisite for dental prosthetics.

c. Holistic Well-being: A nexus exists between periodontal disease and an array of systemic health issues like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and stroke. Maintaining gum health bolsters overall wellness. Sometimes we also employ probiotics to help improve the oral and gut microbiome as well.

In conclusion, treating the active infection responsible for periodontitis is just the beginning.

The real success comes from implementing an appropriate supportive care program, ensuring the maintenance of a dentition free from disease over the long term. 

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