Gum disease is often a silent problem that doesn’t cause patients pain and discomfort until it has already progressed to a severe, serious stage. There are a lot of individuals who have gum disease and do not even know it. The first sign that many may notice when gum disease is progressing is bleeding gums, which indicates gingivitis. This is the first stage of gum disease, and can easily be treated with a professional, deep cleaning. However, many people will ignore the problem until it is too late.
Gum disease is caused by bacteria that are destroying the gums. It affects the gums and the bone underneath, and results in the gums and bones slowly “melting” and shrinking away from the teeth, causing the teeth to become loose and ultimately falling out. Once gum disease has reached this point, the damage is irreversible, and the only way teeth can be replaced is through restorations such as bridges, dentures, and dental implants.
Gum disease is an easy disease to treat if you catch it early. It can be difficult to treat in the later stages, which is why it is so important to see the dentist for regular check-ups twice a year for evaluation. Dr. Dernick’s dental hygienists monitor patients’ gums when they come in for their appointments; his hygienists are trained to measure pocket depths along the gum lines that indicate the severity of the gum disease. When diagnosed early, more frequent cleanings can help address the problem and get it under control. As the disease progresses, patients may be required to have a deep cleaning performed in his office or be referred to a gum specialist, and may require gum surgery and extensive treatment to restore their smile to what it once was.
Studies have shown that gum disease may make diabetes worse, increase a person’s risk of heart attack, and cause premature delivery in pregnant women, among other medical problems. If you think you may be experiencing the symptoms of gum disease, call Dr. Dernick today to schedule a consultation, cleaning, and an extensive dental examination.