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Q:

What is the difference between an adult prophylaxis and periodontal maintenance?

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An adult prophylaxis is commonly called a dental cleaning. It is a preventive dental service which includes scaling and polishing of the teeth to remove plaque, calculus and stain above the gumline. It reduces gingivitis which is an inflammation of the gums which may cause bleeding. This service is routinely performed every six months. Periodontal maintenance is the recommended treatment for periodontal disease which is an infection of the teeth, gums and bone that surround the teeth. In this procedure, plaque, tartar and bacterial toxins are removed from root surfaces below the gumline. The goal is to prevent further progression of periodontal disease, prevent tooth loss and avoid surgical intervention. Once a patient receives treatment for periodontal disease and the infection is under control, continuous periodontal maintenance should be performed to maintain gum and bone health. The frequency of periodontal maintenance will be recommended by your dental hygienist based upon your ... more
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