Gum Disease

Gum disease is also known as periodontal disease. This normally involves the inflammation of gums.

A patient can go to the same dentist or dentists for a number of years. A dentist may be considered negligent where he fails to recognise the deteriorating gum condition.

 The early signs of gum disease include inflammation, bleeding and bad breath. If caught in the early stages by careful brushing, flossing and mouthwashes, the gums can be treated and returned to normal.

Chronic stages of gum disease occur when the infection spreads into the bone that holds the teeth in place and there is a breakdown of the tooth attached to the gum and bone. This often leads to loss of bone and could lead to reduced mobility of the teeth or even the loss of teeth. At this stage, the bones and fibres which support the teeth are progressively destroyed and pockets develop between the gums and the teeth. The loss of supporting bone can be easily seen on x-rays.

Signs of gum disease include:

  • Red, bleeding and/or swollen gums
  • Bad breath
  • Mobility of the teeth
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Abscessed teeth
  • Tooth loss  

Treatment of gum disease

  • Removal of plaque by way of scaling by your dentist or hygienist  
  • Mouth rinses prescribed by your dentist and frequent cleaning 
  • Surgery may be necessary in certain cases to stop, halt or minimise the progression of periodontal disease

When teeth are lost as a result of chronic gum disease, replacement may be achieved by means of implants.

Gum disease can usually be prevented by good and careful teeth cleaning and regular cleaning or scale and polishes by a dentist or hygienist.

The dentist should assess your gums every check-up and look at areas of bleeding or look for areas where bone may be being lost. Therefore your dentist should maintain a full written medical history. Clinical records should include the results of a basic periodontal examination and any x-rays taken to monitor the bone level.

If periodontal disease is detected then the dentist should have a full discussion with the patient giving advice on oral hygiene and treatment. Treatment will normally include scaling and polishing.

Carrying out cosmetic work on front teeth that exhibit chronic periodontis unless treated would be inadvisable.

There are statutory regulations and under the NHS Statement of Dental Remuneration, it is implied that examination of the gums is part of a dental examination. This will include clinical examination, advice, charting and monitoring. If a dentist does not examine the gums as part of the process then he is at risk of being found in breach of his contract with his local authority and could be the subject of an investigation and possible disciplinary process.


T G Baynes can pursue a Dental Compensation Claim on your behalf on a No Win No Fee (CFA) basis meaning that you pay effectively no legal costs should your claim fail on your behalf.  To contact us email us on or call 020 8301 7777