Periodontal Disease: Tooth or Consequences

periodontal diseasePeriodontal disease is inflammation and infection of the tissues that surround the tooth.  If the tooth is told, this is the most common medical condition diagnosed by veterinarians.  80% of dogs and cats over the age of 3 have some form of periodontal disease.  The consequence of ignoring dental disease will lead to tooth loss and even organ damage.

As many of you already know, the mouth is full of bacteria.  Over time, this bacteria forms into plaque and then hardens into tartar.  This accumulation of bacteria will accumulate above and below the gum line leading to an infection that “eats away” at the jaw bone.  Without proper treatment, the disease progresses into irreversible damage and tooth loss occurs.  Periodontal disease is graded according to the loss of bone surrounding the teeth.  Dr. Anna Coffin says it can be difficult to grade teeth on an awake animal and many times dental x-rays reveal bone loss not seen on physical exam.  This is why Guthrie Pet Hospital does full mouth dental x-rays on every patient.  In fact, without dental x-rays, lesions are missed, and your pet could be left in pain.

Four stages of periodontal disease:

  • Stage 1: This is characterized by mild inflammation of the gums called gingivitis.  No bone loss.

  • Stage 2: Less than 25% loss of bone.

  • Stage 3: 25-50% loss of bone.

  • Stage 4: Greater than 50% loss of bone.

Dr. Anna Coffin recommends a professional teeth cleaning when your pet has stage 2 periodontal disease.  At stage 2, we can prevent further damage from occurring if treated quickly and properly.  If your pet has stage 3 or 4 periodontal disease, there will be a loss of teeth.  As periodontal disease progresses, treatment takes longer and becomes more expensive.  You will save yourself money and your pet pain and discomfort by cleaning early and cleaning often.

Early intervention will save the tooth.  The consequences of ignoring dental disease are costly to you and your pet.  You will save yourself money and your pet pain and discomfort by cleaning early and cleaning often.

The best way to prevent tartar build-up is daily brushing or chewing.  Dr. Anna Coffin recommends VOHC approved products because these have been tested and proven to reduce plaque and tartar.  To keep your pet healthy and happy, call or book your appointment today.

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