Periodontal disease begins when bacteria in the mouth form a substance called plaque that sticks to the surface of the teeth. Subsequently, minerals in the saliva harden the plaque into dental calculus (tartar), which is firmly attached to the teeth. Tartar above the gum line is obvious to many owners, but is not of itself the cause of disease. It's the unseen damage below the gum line that causes the problem and increases risk of infection and tooth loss.
Periodontal disease includes gingivitis (reddening of the gums) and periodontitis (loss of bone and soft tissue around the teeth). Effects within the oral cavity include damage to or loss of gum tissue and bone around the teeth, development of a hole (fistula) from the oral cavity into the nasal passages, fractures of the jaw following weakening of the jaw bone, and bone infection (osteomyelitis). Bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream and be carried around the body. Studies in dogs suggest that periodontal disease is associated with pathogenic changes in the heart, liver, and kidneys.
Treatment of periodontal disease is multi-faceted. A professional dental cleaning may be recommended, which includes a thorough oral examination, scaling and polishing. Dental radiographs, extractions or home care may be required. In some instances, the tooth can be saved with advanced periodontal surgery performed by a specialist.
The best way to prevent periodontal disease is by instituting a consistent at-home care program of daily tooth brushing!
We provide complete dental care for your pet and we can address specific issues as needed. Every pet will receive a complete exam of the mouth, full-mouth radiographs, and a comprehensive cleaning and polishing of their teeth
Signs of oral and dental diseases in dogs and cats:
Loose teeth or teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar
Your pet shies away from you when you touch the mouth area
Drooling or dropping food from the mouth
Bleeding from the mouth
Loss of appetite or loss of weight (this combination can result from diseases of many organs, and early veterinary examination is important).
Periodontal disease is
the most common clinical condition in adult dogs and cats and the severity of disease is often under-appreciated. It may cause problems in the oral cavity and may be associated with damage to internal organs in some patients as they age.