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The Patient's Role in Therapy

No matter how successful the periodontal treatment has been, the patient is the most important part in maintaining periodontal health. For maximum results, the patient must accept this role as a "co-therapist".

The first charge to the patient is to eliminate factors that increase susceptibility to periodontal disease. The prime culprit is smoking, which increases the odds of losing teeth 700%! Diabetic patients are also more susceptible, although this effect is negligible if the blood sugar remains stable. Healthy diets promote healing, but don't be misled by vitamin claims. Periodontal disease is NOT affected by high doses of Vitamin C or calcium supplements, if the patient has a normal diet.

The second responsibility of the patient is to maintain daily plaque control, with brushing and flossing. Brushing is easy for most of us, but flossing is more demanding. Most periodontal disease, however, starts between the teeth, where the brush can not reach. "Floss is Boss", and the time spent in learning proper technique will pay large dividends. (See Oral Hygiene)

Lastly, the patient is responsible for scheduling regular periodontal maintenance. The frequency is determined by your periodontist and dentist, and is critical! Most patients with moderate and advanced cases should have periodontal maintenance appointments every three months for their lifetime, and staying faithful to this schedule is very important (See Periodontal Maintenance).