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Spotting the early signs of gum disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, or periodontitis, is a common condition that is caused by a build-up of plaque, and the bacteria within it, on teeth. It is also the 6th most prevalent disease of mankind. Whilst plaque can cause decay in teeth if it builds up and is not removed by regular brushing, the bacteria can also irritate the gums and, if not treated, can result in the development of gum disease.

Gum disease is difficult to treat so the best thing to do is prevent it from getting worse at an earlier stage. If it is successfully treated in the early stages, known as gingivitis, it does not always have lasting impact on oral health. However, if it is not diagnosed early enough, or isn’t treated effectively, gingivitis can develop into periodontitis, which can result in receding gums, tooth loss and even damage to the bone in the jaw.

This blog aims to help highlight some of the early signs and symptoms of gum disease, so that treatment can be sought before the condition progresses.

Signs of Gingivitis

Symptoms of early gum disease can include any or all of the below:

  • Sore gums
  • Swollen or red gums
  • Signs of bleeding gums after brushing or flossing teeth

Signs of Periodontitis

Symptoms of periodontitis can include the symptoms of gingivitis as well as any or all of the below:

  • An unpleasant taste in the mouth
  • Bad breath, also known as halitosis
  • Abscesses developing under the gums
  • Loose teeth

Treatment for gum disease

If you are diagnosed with gingivitis or gum disease, treatments include:

  • Practicing good dental hygiene, with brushing twice a day, flossing daily, using fluoride toothpaste and not smoking
  • Using an ‘over the counter’ antiseptic mouthwash to help prevent the build-up of plaque. Your dentist can recommend one
  • A scale & polish treatment at the dentists to remove the build-up of tartar (plaque that has hardened)
  • Root planning, which is the deep cleaning of the gums (under a local anaesthetic) to remove bacteria
  • In serious cases, teeth may need to be extracted or periodontal surgery carried out, also known as gum surgery

What to do if you think you have gum disease

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of gingivitis or periodontitis, you should see your dentist as soon as you can. They should be able to diagnose the issue and suggest a treatment plan, if needed.

Problems such as gum disease should be picked up by regular visits and check-ups at your dentist. If you have been seeing your dentist regularly and they have failed to diagnose periodontitis over a long period of time, resulting in pain, suffering or significant stress, you may be eligible to make a claim for compensation. Contact the Dental Law Partnership to discuss your options with a free initial claim assessment.

Sources: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/gum-disease/