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Here we explain what you might need to know about dental care, should you have experienced injury as a result of periodontal disease.
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When you attend a dental check-up, your dentist will be able to see if you have any dental problems.
When attending your dentist for a check up, the dentist will normally:-
Your dentist should also carry out a Basic Periodontal Examination (BPE) which is an assessment of the periodontal tissues. This mean that they will be giving a quick overview of the health of your gums.The dentist will carry out the examination by probing your gums and you may recognise that they will give a numerical score 0-4 for each the difference sections of your mouth.
The symptoms of periodontal disease, which a dentist should raise concerns about, include:
If you are concerned that you may be suffering from periodontal disease, you should speak to your dentist about this. If, upon speaking to them, you are still concerned that they are failing to diagnose the disease, you should seek a second opinion as soon as possible.
In addition, you should ensure that you adopt good oral hygiene practices. Regular brushing, as well as use of dental floss or interdental brushes will help to maintain a healthy mouth. Your dentist will be able to provide you with oral hygiene advice and show you how to use interdental brushes.
The dentist should inform the patient of the diagnosis and what they have found.
The dentist should also set out what treatment is required and the cost of the treatment options, as well as discussing with the patient the need to be proactive in improving their oral hygiene.
Whilst gum disease cannot be caused by other types treatment, having treatment such as braces before the gum disease has been brought under control can aggravate and cause further damage. The same is true for having cosmetic work or implants whilst the disease is still active.
A dentist can also contribute to causing gum disease by providing ill-fitting fillings or crowns, or by providing a denture without explaining about the increased risk of gum disease that comes with having a denture.
If you have been diagnosed with gum disease, then you should be fully informed of the nature of the disease, the risks, and methods of self-prevention. These self-prevention methods will include oral hygiene advice, advice about quitting smoking, and dietary advice.
A detailed assessment of the gums should be carried out, along with the taking of radiographs and the provision of thorough cleaning of the teeth and gums, which may need to be done under local anaesthetic.
Following assessment, periodontal treatment (such as scaling, root planing and antibiotic therapy) should be commenced. If there is no significant improvement a referral should be made to a periodontal specialist.
There is no cure for periodontal disease, but early intervention can prevent the disease from developing further.
If you don’t go to the dentist regularly, a claim is unlikely to succeed, as the defence will likely assert that the dentist was not given an adequate opportunity to diagnose or provide treatment.
However, every case turns on its individual facts and if you consider you may have a claim we can advise you on likely prospects.
As such, it is important that you attend regular check ups as advised by your dentist.
By law, all dentists must be registered with the General Dental Council (GDC) and must have appropriate indemnity and insurance arrangements in place in order for patients to seek compensation which they may be entitled to.
Therefore even after a dentist retires they will still be responsible for the treatment which was carried out when they were practicing as a dentist.
The cost of attending with a hygienist on a regular basis and undergoing some of the above treatments can be very expensive.
Hygienist appointments are not normally covered on the NHS. However, if you are receiving dental care on the NHS then periodontal treatment should be provided in general practice. If you have gum disease and are receiving NHS dental care then they should provide you with NHS treatment options.
Furthermore, the cost of replacing teeth lost due to gum disease is expensive, especially if you require dental implants rather than a bridge or denture. It is also worth knowing that implants would not usually be provided on the NHS. Instead the NHS would normally offer dentures, which many consider an insufficient substitute for natural teeth which can even make the problems with gum disease worse for the remaining teeth, resulting in further tooth loss.
When bringing a claim for dental negligence, we would seek to recover treatment costs as part of your claim.
Unfortunately if treatment is not sought in a timely manner then you could be at risk of losing teeth or several teeth.
The loss of teeth can also impact upon individuals mental health. We have acted for patients who feel very self conscious when they have lost teeth, and this also can have an impact on their social life as they are unable to eat certain foods and may not be able to go out for a meal with friends.
Our team has put together a guide on the process of making a dental negligence claim here.