“Gum disease” missed?

Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease and the medical term for an inflammation of the gums that causes irritation, redness and swelling. Though gingivitis is very common and can develop at any point, it’s important that you take any symptoms seriously as it can often lead to more serious gum disease, and even tooth loss.

What are the symptoms of gingivitis?

In very mild case of gingivitis, there is usually no discomfort or noticeable symptoms. However, as the issue worsens you may notice:

  • Your gums appear puffy or swollen
  • Your gums are a dark red colour
  • Your gums start to bleed easily, particularly when you are brushing or flossing
  • Your gums feel more tender than usual, and can be painful to touch
  • Bad breath
  • Your gums may appear to recede

Generally, healthy gums are a pale pink colour and will appear fitted tightly around the teeth. So, if you feel that your gums don’t match this description, it’s important that you visit your dentist for a check-up as soon as possible.

Checking the health of the gums is the expected standard of care

What are the causes of gum disease?

The most common cause of gingivitis is a steady build-up of plaque, which usually happens in three stages:

Plaque starts to form on your teeth. Plaque is mainly made up of bacteria and begins to form on your teeth when food interacts with the bacteria that’s found in your mouth. It’s important to brush your teeth daily to keep on top of this build-up.

Plaque turns into tartar. If plaque isn’t removed from your teeth, it can harden under your gum line and turn into tartar. This tartar not only makes plaque more difficult to remove, but it creates almost a shield for bacteria and can causes irritation along the gum line.

Mild gum disease. The longer tartar and plaque sit on your teeth, the more they’re likely to irritate your gums because it forms a ledge below which your toothbrush cannot reach. In time, your gums will swell up and start to bleed more easily. If not treated quickly, this can result in destructive gum disease (periodontitis)

Missed gum disease may lead to irreversible gum damage and tooth loss

What do you do when your dentist failed to diagnoses your gum disease?

Whilst the majority of dentists will notice a build-up of plaque and tartar (calculus) before the issue gets out of hand, avoidable problems can occur if your dentist fails to take the proper care expected.

If you believe that your dentist has misdiagnosed or simply hasn’t picked up on dental issues that you are having like gum disease, or that your dentist may even have contributed to ongoing oral health issues after having visited them, you may be entitled to compensation.

This article illustrates the value of a review before leaping headlong into a legal case. A good lawyer will consult a dental Expert Witness such as myself, for advice.

Dr Stephen Bray 2019

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