Periodontal disease and gingivitis occur when bacteria from plaque colonize on the gingival (gum) tissue, either above or below the gum line.  Someone with gingivitis will normally have the following symptoms: swollen, shiny gums, general soreness of the mouth including bright red-inflamed gums. Gums may also be itchy and bleed easily when brushing or flossing. Bad breath or halitosis is also very common in a person with gingivitis.

The main cause of gingivitis is plaque and tarter build up. First comes the plaque. Plaque is the yellow film on your teeth caused by food and bacteria in your mouth. Next comes the tarter. When plaque build up mixes with the saliva in your mouth it hardens over time and turns into tarter. Tarter, usually a result of poor brushing, ultimately leads to gingivitis. It’s a vicious cycle.

Gingivitis can also be a warning sign for a more severe gum disease called periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is when gingivitis is left untreated and can lead to bone loss or even tooth loss.

These bacteria colonies cause serious inflammation and irritation which in turn produce a chronic inflammatory response in the body.  As a result, the body begins to systematically destroy gum and bone tissue, making the teeth shift, become unstable, or completely fall out.  The pockets between the gums and teeth become deeper and house more bacteria which may travel via the bloodstream and infect other parts of the body.

Prophy is a non-therapeutic procedure for the maintenance of a healthy mouth. Prophy is only provided for patients without periodontitis. It is primarily a supragingival procedure and is provided at six-month intervals. 

Periodontal maintenance (PM) is distinctly different than prophy and is most commonly utilized for patients who have had active perio treatment. It is ongoing treatment for periodontitis, which is a chronic and non-curable bacterial infection. The objective of PM is to keep the disease under control. Any type of periodontal treatment is ineffective in the long term without an effective PM regimen.* Periodontal maintenance is provided every three months. 

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