The importance of periodontal care

Dr. Michelle VanDyke and her team at Kentwood Family Dental Care are dedicated to helping our patients stay healthy. That is why we make periodontal care a priority at our dental practice. Periodontal disease is an infection of the gum tissue, which can have devastating impacts on your oral and overall health. Thankfully, it is treatable. Even better, in most cases, it can be prevented with healthy habits and regular dental care.

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is an inflammatory condition affecting tissues around the teeth. It begins with an infection on the gums, and it is often called gum disease. However, as the condition progresses, it can spread to the ligaments and bone that support teeth. Without treatment, it can ultimately lead to tooth loss. Even more concerning, a growing body of research has linked advanced periodontal disease to heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease, osteoporosis, cancer, and other systemic health problems.

There are two types of periodontal disease:

  • Gingivitis – This is a mild form of the periodontal disease characterized by swelling, redness, and tenderness of the gum tissue. It also causes gums to bleed easily. Gingivitis usually begins with plaque and tartar buildup along the gum line, which leads to inflammation and infection.
  • Periodontitis – This is a severe form of periodontal disease. When gingivitis is not treated promptly, it can progress to periodontitis. Inflamed gum tissue separates from the surface of tooth roots, causing pockets where plaque, tartar, and bacteria settle. As the condition progresses, the pockets deepen, allowing infection to spread.

Preventing and treating periodontal disease

The key to avoiding periodontal disease is taking your oral health seriously. That means diligent daily oral hygiene, as well as regular dental care. When you brush and floss, make sure that you are cleaning all the way to the gum line. Visit us twice a year for professional teeth cleaning and schedule an appointment right away if you notice signs of disease such as your gums bleeding easily.

If periodontal disease develops, it is treatable. In most cases, we can control it with deep cleanings, which involve cleaning below the gum line and smoothing the surface of the tooth root. For more advanced periodontitis, we may recommend additional treatments such as antibiotics.

Make your oral health a priority

If you are overdue for a checkup or have symptoms of periodontal disease, please call us at (616) 612-1176 and arrange an appointment.