Gum disease, in its early stages, is called gingivitis. It can be hard to spot, as it is not always painful. There are some signs that you should look out for:

  • Red and swollen gums
  • Blood in your sink after rinsing.

You can treat gingivitis by:

  • Flossing using interdental brushes, before brushing your teeth. Ask your dentist to advise you on the right size of brush.
  • Brushing your teeth for two minutes in the morning and last thing at night. Brush every surface of each tooth and rinse thoroughly.
  • Using a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Not smoking
  • Using a mouthwash with the ingredient chlorhexidine digluconate, such as Corsodyl. This will treat bleeding gums.

If gingivitis is left unaddressed, it may lead to a more severe form of gum disease called periodontitis. This is where the tissues and bone that hold the teeth in place become damaged. Symptoms include:

  • Bad breath
  • A foul taste in your mouth
  • Loose teeth
  • Pus around your gums (from abscesses)
  • Teeth looking longer (this is due to your gums shrinking)
  • Sensitive teeth, e.g. when having a cold drink
  • Teeth that have shifted (your smile looks different)
  • Changes in the way you bite

If you notice any of the above symptoms, see your dentist. You may need professional cleaning, a hydrogen peroxide rinse or a course of antibiotics.
Acute Necrotising Ulcerative Gingivitis is a rare condition, characterised by:

  • Infected painful gums
  • Ulcers
  • Fever

At this stage, it is important to seek medical advice, as periodontitis is often caused by an impaired immune system. You may need a surgical procedure, such as:

  • Root planing (debridement): a deep clean under the gums with local anaesthetic
  • Removal of a tooth
  • Flap surgery. Here, gums are lifted off the teeth to remove tartar build up.

Your dentist owes you a professional duty of care to spot any symptoms of gum disease and fully advise you of preventative action and treatment options. If you feel your dentist has failed in their duties and caused or worsened your condition, please call us on 0800 1583 869 or submit an enquiry by email and our solicitors can advise you of your rights and compensation for injury and treatment costs.

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