By Theresa Pablos, associate editor

July 31, 2019 -- The science is in: Long-term periodontal therapy appears to prevent tooth loss and tissue damage. A new study found that decades-long periodontal treatment at a general dentist's office helped patients maintain healthy gums.

Researchers from Switzerland looked at data from 100 patients who had been receiving periodontal therapy for an average of 18 years. They published their findings in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology (July 4, 2019).

"The present study shows long-term success of periodontal therapy over many years can be achieved in patients attending dental care in a general private practice," wrote the authors, led by Veronique Muller Campanile, Dr med dent, a private practice dentist in Geneva.

Periodontal health is crucial for maintaining healthy teeth and gums, but new research suggests gum health may also be linked to everything from prediabetes to puberty. The researchers wanted to know whether long-term periodontal therapy in a general dentist's office could help prevent some of these complications.

The study included 100 patients who had been previously treated for active periodontal therapy at Dr. Muller Campanile's office. The patients had at least two years of maintenance periodontal therapy, including periodontal probing, oral hygiene reinforcement, and plaque removal. The researchers customized the recall time for each patient.

The patients received periodontal therapy and maintenance at the practice for two to 28 years. The majority had chronic periodontitis and were current or former smokers.

Periodontal complications, including recurrent active periodontitis, only accounted for 16 total lost teeth among the patients, the researchers found. Periodontal treatment and maintenance therapy also significantly reduced patients' probing depth and bleeding on probing.

The reduction in periodontal disease markers was even greater for patients with more frequent recall visits and who had received maintenance therapy for more years. This is one reason why the researchers speculated they did not find an association between age and periodontal health in their research.

"The present study further corroborates, under real-life conditions in a dental practice, the power of regular maintenance care to reduce the incidence of residual pockets," the authors wrote.

Copyright © 2019

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