Periodontal disease is the term for a disease process that affects any structure in the mouth, such as teeth and gums. It is the most common disease in adult dogs and cats, with over 68% of all pets over the age of 3 years being affected.
Once dental disease is present, this inflammation will lead to irreversible damage to the surrounding tissues. Without plaque removal or control, dental disease always progresses in severity. In the mouth, tissue damage and eventual tooth loss will occur. The rest of the body can be affected by bacteria traveling through the bloodstream, potentially affecting organ function.
Signs of Dental Disease:
- plaque and tartar (light brown color) - bad breath
- gingivitis (redness, swelling or bleeding of the gums) - pain
- tooth mobility/movement - gum recession
*Your pet may not exhibit all of these signs*
Your pet may experience pain with any grade of dental disease. Pain can come from sore gums, exposed roots or cavities, fractured teeth, loose teeth, or even misaligned teeth. Some common signs are: chewing on one side of the mouth, chattering teeth while eating or drinking, pawing at the mouth, drooling, dropping food out of the mouth, avoidance of being touched around the mouth, or vocalization.
Food & Brushing Teeth:
Tooth brushing is a mechanical action to prevent plaque and tartar accumulation. Some foods will try to mimic this action with specialized kibble, or have enzymes which break up plaque. Tooth brushing may prevent tartar accumulation, but any existing tartar can only be removed by scaling and polishing under anesthesia
A full dental examination is possible only under general anesthetic – have you ever tried to look in the back of your pet’s mouth!?! The purpose of an exam is to visualize the plaque and tartar on all surfaces of the teeth, assess gingivitis or gum recession, tooth mobility, and exposed pulp or roots. Digital dental X-ray can be used to see root structure, which helps us completely assess tooth health.
Scaling and polishing is the only way to remove tartar once it is deposited on the teeth. Some practices may offer sedation dentistry, or dental work without any sedation or anesthetic. For staff and patient safety, we find that this does not allow for proper evaluation and treatment.
Please contact the clinic for a complimentary dental exam with one of our technicians. They can let you know where your pet’s dental health stands currently, and can advise you about how to proceed to maintain your pet’s best overall health.