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What Is Full Mouth Disinfection?

Mouthwash helps keep the mouth clean.
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  • Written By: Megan Shoop
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 13 April 2014
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Full mouth disinfection is the usual treatment for chronic periodontitis, or gum disease. This treatment involves assessing the damage already done to the teeth, followed by an intensive cleaning of the entire mouth, including the tooth sockets. The dentist also typically teaches the patient how to clean his or her teeth properly. The patient may also be provided with a disinfecting mouthwash. Completing a full mouth disinfection usually takes up to four dental appointments. The efficacy of this treatment also largely depends on the patient’s willingness to follow proper dental hygiene procedures.

Periodontitis usually features inflamed gums due to bacteria lodged in the tooth sockets. This condition also features heavy plaque on the teeth and a high tendency to get cavities. A full mouth disinfection often helps alleviate symptoms from periodontitis by scraping all of the plaque out of the mouth and descaling the tooth sockets. This procedure does not cure gum disease but it can help the gums heal and keep the mouth healthy. To maintain the effects of the full mouth disinfection, the dental patient must follow guidelines set down by his or her dentist.

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The first dental appointment for full mouth disinfection usually involves measuring the teeth and examining the mouth to see how advanced the condition is. The dentist may then show the patient how to care for his or her mouth and suggest methods and items for keeping the mouth clean. This usually includes recommending a certain kind of toothbrush, mouthwash, floss, and rinsing techniques. No actual disinfecting is typically done during this first appointment.

During the second appointment for full mouth disinfection, the dentist usually takes up to 90 minutes to clean and descale every part of the mouth, including the gum pockets. This procedure can be quite uncomfortable and can take a long time, so the patient is usually put under a local anesthetic. The dentist generally ends the cleaning session by rinsing the gums with cool water. After the patient wakes, he or she may be prescribed a special mouth rinse to be used several times a day.

A third appointment, very similar to the second, may or may not be needed, depending on how advanced the gum disease is. Subsequent appointments are typically scheduled about three weeks apart so the dentist can check on the cleanliness of the patient’s mouth. It is very important that the patient follow the dentist’s instructions to the letter while his or her gums heal. Full mouth disinfection only takes effect if the patient can follow up with excellent dental hygiene.

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