Poor oral health can be a sign that your overall health is suffering, which is why regular cleanings are so important. But what does it mean if you need periodontal maintenance? And how is it different from a regular cleaning?

In this guide, we’ll cover what periodontal maintenance is, how it’s different from dental cleaning, and why you may need it. If you live in the Salt Lake area and need periodontal maintenance, we can help! We have offices in Salt Lake City and South Jordan for your convenience. Click the button below to request an appointment. 

What Is Periodontal Maintenance?

Periodontal maintenance is a type of dental treatment that stops gum disease from progressing. Before receiving periodontal maintenance, you will typically undergo an initial periodontal therapy, which may be scaling and root planing, or in more severe cases, surgery. 

After the initial treatment, your dentist will prescribe regular periodontal maintenance,. These occur more regularly than a dental cleaning, usually every three or four months.  During these appointments, a dental hygienist will thoroughly clean your teeth and gums, removing any plaque and tartar buildup. The dentist or hygienist will also assess the overall health of your gums and supporting tissues. 

If you have periodontal disease, periodontal cleanings are essential because they stop the disease from getting worse. When left alone, gum disease can damage your gums and the bone supporting your teeth, which will eventually lead to you losing teeth. Luckily, regular periodontal maintenance stops the disease from getting to this stage

How Much Does Periodontal Maintenance Cost?

The cost of periodontal cleaning will depend on several factors, including the severity of your periodontal disease and any additional treatments you may need during the appointment. 

In the United States, the average cost of a periodontal cleaning is $120. This is without taking into consideration the costs of treatment before the maintenance phase. Scaling and root planing costs between $250 to $400 per quadrant, and active periodontal therapy (the use of antimicrobial treatment inside the gum pockets) is usually about $75 per tooth. 

Periodontal Maintenance vs Cleaning

Now that we’ve talked about periodontal maintenance, let’s talk about how it differs from a typical dental cleaning. Regular dental cleanings, also called dental prophylaxis, are preventative measures meant to keep your mouth in general good health. In comparison, periodontal maintenance is a method to treat periodontal disease. 

Here’s a breakdown of how periodontal maintenance vs cleaning differ: 

  • Frequency
    • Periodontal maintenance takes place every three to four months, depending on your specific needs.
    • Dental cleanings usually occur every six months. 
  • Purpose
    • The purpose of periodontal maintenance is to stop the gum disease from coming back. It’s for individuals who have already gone through treatment for their periodontal disease or have a history of gum problems. 
    • Dental cleanings are meant to prevent cavities, gum disease, and other health issues by keeping the teeth and gums clean. 
  • Procedure
    • Periodontal cleanings involve a deep cleaning. They may go below the gum line to remove plaque and tartar. The hygienist may also flush out gum pockets with antiseptic if they see an area that is inflamed or infected.
    • During a prophylactic cleaning, your dental hygienist focuses on cleaning the crowns of your teeth to remove plaque and tartar. 

Why You Need Periodontal Maintenance

Everyone needs regular dental cleanings to keep their gums and teeth healthy, but not everyone needs periodontal maintenance. If you need periodontal maintenance, here are some of the reasons it’s necessary: 

  1. Managing periodontal disease: Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the gums and supporting structures of your teeth. Without proper management, it can lead to gum recession, bone loss, and eventually tooth loss. Periodontal maintenance helps manage the disease by removing plaque, tartar, and bacteria from below the gumline, where periodontal pockets can form and harbor harmful pathogens.
  2. Preventing disease progression: Periodontal maintenance prevents the progression of gum disease. By undergoing regular maintenance appointments, you can reduce the risk of your condition worsening. 
  3. Prevent tooth loss: Untreated periodontal disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults. Periodontal cleaning helps preserve the health of your gums and supporting structures of your teeth so you are less likely to lose teeth. 
  4. Monitoring oral health: Periodontal maintenance appointments also involve monitoring the health of your gums and assessing any changes or signs of recurrence. Early detection of gum disease allows for prompt treatment and a better outcome.

What’s the Process for Periodontal Maintenance?

The process for periodontal maintenance typically involves several steps and may vary slightly depending on your specific needs. Here’s a general outline of that process:

  1. Assessment and evaluation: The dental hygienist or dentist will review your dental history and perform a comprehensive evaluation to measure pocket depth, assess gum inflammation, check for recession, and evaluate bone levels. 
  2. Scaling and root planing: If necessary, the hygienist or dentist perform a deep cleaning to remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria from below the gumline.
  3. Periodontal maintenance: Following the initial deep cleaning, you will undergo regular periodontal cleaning visits, typically every three to four months. During these visits, the hygienist will thoroughly clean your teeth and gums and may perform additional treatments. 
  4. Monitoring: During the periodontal maintenance process, your dental team will closely monitor your progress. If your condition worsens, you may need surgical treatments to take care of your gum disease.  

Are Periodontal Cleanings Covered by Insurance?

Whether periodontal maintenance is covered by your insurance can vary depending on your plan and provider. A lot of insurance providers cover prophylactic cleanings at one hundred percent, but will only cover a portion of the cost of periodontal maintenance. 

Depending on your plan, you may have to pay a copay before treatment. Some plans cover a percentage of the cost, while others cover periodontal maintenance at a fixed dollar amount or up to a certain amount per year. 

Some insurance plans have specific criteria for covering, such as requiring a certain level of periodontal disease severity or documentation of previous treatment. You should review your insurance policy or contact your provider directly to fully understand your coverage.


Periodontal cleanings and regular cleanings are similar, but have unique purposes. Periodontal maintenance is an active way to treat gum disease and prevent further progression, while cleanings are a preventative measure to keep your mouth healthy. Periodontal cleanings go deeper than regular cleanings and occur more frequently–every three to four months. 

If you’re in need of periodontal maintenance, the professionals at Utah Periodontal Specialists are here to help. Our team of experts are highly skilled and will help improve your oral health. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!