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What to do if your dentist fails to diagnose gum disease

According to the NHS, the majority of adults in the UK will suffer some form of gum disease during their lifetime.

Typically gum disease begins with gingivitis which is an inflammation of the gums. The main cause of gingivitis is plaque.

As the plaque builds around the teeth it produces toxins that irritate the gum tissue.

In the early stages, gingivitis can be treated and the effects can be reversed, but only if it is diagnosed early enough.

However, if it is left untreated it can develop into periodontitis which is incurable and which could also cause permanent damage to both the teeth and jaw.

How do you know if gingivitis has developed into periodontal disease?

If your dentist hasn’t diagnosed you with periodontal disease but you think they may have missed something you can use some of the following symptoms to help you decide if you need to speak to another dental practitioner for a second opinion.

Many of the symptoms of periodontal disease are unpleasant and can be very distressing.

The following are some of the most common symptoms to look out for.

Bad breath that won’t go away

This is usually as a result of pockets that are created in the gums by periodontal disease. These pockets then trap food and bacteria which can start to decay and cause a bad smell.

Swollen gums

If gums begin to appear red or swollen and start to feel sore or even start bleeding when you are brushing your teeth, then it may be a sign that you are suffering from periodontal disease.

Receding gums

If your gums begin to retreat then you may be suffering from gum disease. As well as being painful, receding gums can cause your teeth to become very sensitive.

This shows that the tissue surrounding your teeth has become damaged and if left untreated it can result in tooth loss.


Bacterial infections are common in people who are suffering from gum disease. They can be extremely painful and can discharge into the mouth as the body tries to fight the infection.

If you are suffering from any of these symptoms then you should seek treatment and advice from a dental practitioner immediately.

What happens if your dentist fails to recognise the presence of periodontal disease?

If your dentist fails to diagnose periodontal disease then you may be eligible to make a dental negligence claim.

However, your health is the most important thing and should your dentist fail to identify your case of gum disease, the infection could spread and it could attack the jawbone.

Periodontal disease often affects whole areas of the mouth, and a failure to diagnose it could mean you lose several teeth at once.

How we can help

Unfortunately, our dental negligence team have encountered many cases of misdiagnosis and failed diagnosis before.

However, this places them in the perfect position to assist you with your dental negligence claim.

We understand that substandard care can have huge consequences both physically, emotionally and financially that’s why we work on a no win – no fee basis.

If you believe that you or someone you know has received poor dental care whether it is a failed periodontal disease diagnosis or otherwise, please get in touch with our dental negligence team today on 0800 1979 345 or complete our online enquiry form and we will get back in touch with you as soon as possible.