Periodontal Maintenance Cleanings: What Are They? What’s Involved?

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In general, most people are familiar with family dentistry and the standard dental cleaning they receive when going in for your check-up. These cleanings are also referred to as a prophylaxis or prophy. Dental check-ups and exams are generally done every six months.

However, when a patient is diagnosed with periodontal disease, the frequency of visits will be at increased intervals. This helps keep periodontal or gum disease under control and prevents the progression of the disease. If you have periodontal disease, you may have been told a deep cleaning is necessary. But what is a deep cleaning? What’s involved with a deep cleaning? In our article we’ll cover:

1. What is a deep cleaning and is a deep cleaning really necessary?

2. How do you know if you need a deep cleaning? Common signs you need a SRP (deep cleaning).

3. What is the difference between a regular teeth cleaning and a deep cleaning?

4. Answers to commonly asked questions about periodontal maintenance cleanings.

Learn about the different types of Dental Abscesses

Image of the progression of gum disease. Periodontal maintenance cleanings are an important part of keeping your mouth healthy after being diagnosed with Periodontal disease.

A deep cleaning, which is sometimes referred to as SRP, short for scaling and root planing, is a cleaning that is done below the gum line. A deep cleaning helps eliminate bacteria present in the form of plaque and tartar build-up. If not controlled, this bacteria can grow and multiply at a rapid rate leading to multiple problems. These problems could include but are not limited to: chronic inflammation, bone loss, and a frustrating bad taste in the mouth.

Once you complete the initial deep cleaning process, your hygienist and dentist will evaluate how your gums have responded to the treatment. When there is improvement, we will recommend periodontal maintenance cleanings at intervals specific to your current condition. This allows us to continue treating periodontal disease. Many health conditions are linked to patients with periodontal disease. Some conditions included are diabetes and heart disease

Periodontal maintenance cleanings are more involved than a prophylaxis or cleaning for a patient who does not have periodontal disease. Periodontal maintenance cleanings are crucial to keeping gum disease stable. These more involved cleanings help maintain the health of the bone and gum. It is essential, however, that you make your dentist aware of all of your medical conditions. Ultimately, what happens in one area of the body can, in turn, affect another. Clear, concise, and effective communication is critical for improving our overall health and well-being.

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Along with recommended periodontal maintenance appointments, excellent home care is also crucial.  This includes flossing and brushing. Together, all of these things will help maintain your bone, gums, and, ultimately, your teeth. It is essential to know that Periodontal maintenance cleanings are cleanings done at intervals, which are more frequent than routine cleanings. Typically, these cleanings are done somewhere between three to four times annually. With more frequent cleanings, we can better manage periodontal disease. Ultimately, the end goal is to put periodontal disease into remission, which will require teamwork between you and your dental team!

Image of Periodontal disease and how it is related to overall health.

The health of your mouth is our priority!  We want you to know that all of us at South Lincoln Family Dentistry take your health seriously. We will do what it takes to make sure you understand what kind of treatment is necessary, how many appointments will be needed, and, ultimately, make sure you feel comfortable with any treatment we have suggested. What about the cost? We’ll discuss that, too!

We want to get you back to an overall healthy mouth! This means that even if you need a deep cleaning followed by periodontal maintenance cleanings, we’re here to help.

One of the most vital things to take away from any dental visit after hearing the term “periodontal disease” is to schedule any necessary appointments. Treating periodontal disease requires a team effort! While the hygienist and dentist can do his/her job in the clinic, their job isn’t fully finished without your commitment and hard work.

We understand that trying to make sense of everything involved in dentistry can be complicated; we promise to help lighten any load you might feel along the way. Whether you have questions about the treatment plan, finances, or anything else, we are here for YOU!


Illustration of the development of dental caries.
  • Irritated, Swollen Gums
  • Receding Gum Line
  • Bad Breath, also known as Halitosis
  • Pus Between Gums and Teeth
  • Irregular Bite, which has recently occurred
  • Sensitive gums
  • Loose Teeth

Learn More about the Various Types of Dental Cleanings


Regular, Annual Cleanings (Prophylaxis) 

Frequency: Completed in one visit. Typically, every six months.

Insurance Coverage: Annual cleanings are typically a covered service with most dental carriers.

Pocket measurements: Measurements that your hygienist will take at your routine check-up to check the gums’ health and monitor for any areas of bone loss. Often, you might hear these measurements referred to as “probe depths.” 

Image of tooth decay with an infected pulp.

Deep Cleaning (Scaling and Root Planing) with Periodontal Maintenance Cleanings

Frequency:  An initial deep cleaning will require two visits.

The left side will be completed at one visit.

The right side completed at a subsequent follow-up visit.

Periodontal Maintenance Cleanings are usually done 3-4 times per year, and your hygienist and dentist will determine the frequency of visits based on your mouth’s individual needs! Periodontal maintenance cleanings are based on several factors, including how quickly tartar and plaque build-up, inflammation, and the stability of the present condition.

Once a deep cleaning has been performed, and periodontal maintenance cleanings have begun, a great home care plan will be vital to maintaining your mouth’s overall health.

Surfaces Cleaned: All surfaces between the teeth, any visible surfaces, and any periodontal pockets below the gum tissue. 

Insurance coverage: Periodontal Maintenance is generally considered a basic service, and is likely covered. Also, something to keep in mind is that periodontal maintenance cleanings might be subject to a yearly deductible. The amount of this deductible varies per plan and will be specified by your dental insurance provider.

Image of a banner showing that periodontal disease and overall health are related. Periodontal maintenance cleanings are an important part maintaining gum health after a diagnosis of periodontal disease.


Is periodontal maintenance needed or necessary? 

Routine cleanings help prevent periodontal disease from occurring, whereas periodontal maintenance cleanings help prevent further bone loss and inflammation in a patient who has already been diagnosed with gum disease. Following a deep cleaning, periodontal maintenance cleanings can prevent the disease from becoming active again. 

What is periodontal maintenance & treatment?

If you have periodontal disease, it is highly likely that you will need a deep cleaning. Deep cleaning is also commonly called scaling and root planing. Typically, this deep cleaning will be followed up with periodontal maintenance to help control periodontal disease.

Do periodontal cleanings hurt?

Most patients report no to very little sensitivity associated with having a deep cleaning. Dental anesthetic will be used to keep you comfortable at your initial deep cleaning procedures. Periodontal maintenance cleanings are typically able to be completed without patient discomfort and without dental anesthetic. 

How often will I need periodontal maintenance?

The frequency of necessary periodontal maintenance cleanings is based upon the current condition of your disease. Your dentist and hygienist will be sure to re-evaluate your mouth’s health at every visit to determine the best maintenance interval for you.

If you’ve been told you have periodontal disease, we don’t want you to be embarrassed or ashamed. At South Lincoln Family Dentistry, our team takes your health seriously, and we want to see you smile again. We are here to help. So, rest assured that we will be by your side every single step of the way. It’s our promise!

The information on this page was written by Dr. Christine Bergman.

This gentle Lincoln, NE dentists, says: “My team and I will go out of our way to ensure you feel at home. We take the time to understand all of your concerns because we genuinely care. Let us help improve your health with the most advanced dental techniques in a soothing, relaxing environment. We are the gentle dentists in Lincoln, NE.”

You can schedule with this Lincoln, NE dentist, or her partners, online 24/7 at a Nebraska Family Dentistry Location near you. This “dentist near me” serves the local communities close to Lincoln. Some of the communities include Waverly, Davey, Raymond, Garland, Ceresco, Greenwood, and Malcolm, Roca, Bennet, Firth, Crete, Hickman, and many more!

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