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Dog getting teeth examined

Canine Periodontal Disease

Dog getting teeth examined

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is the infection and inflammation of the tooth attachment apparatus (periodontal ligament and jaw bone), caused by toxins that are released from bacteria. It begins when bacteria form on teeth in a substance called plaque. If plaque is not removed, the plaque is calcified by the minerals in saliva to become calculus (or tartar) . Once the plaque gets under the gum, it starts causing inflammation (“gingivitis”). Gingivitis is the initial, reversible form of periodontal disease.   

Dog chewing on toy

How can I prevent it?

Gingivitis can be  painful to your dog and may lead to premature tooth loss.  If this inflammation is not controlled, the bacteria within the gingiva change to a more virulent type which creates more severe inflammation that leads to irreversible periodontitis.  Periodontitis may not be painful to your dog, so owner and dog is not aware of the disease until it is too late.

The best way to prevent periodontal disease in your dog is through the use of appropriate procedures and/or techniques to prevent dental and oral disease.  Caring for your pet’s teeth and gums is vital to the health of your pet to remove the plaque and tarter that accumulates each day. The dental prophylaxis (the “Prophy”), or the professional cleaning, scaling and polishing of teeth, is recommended as the minimum baseline prevention of periodontal disease.

There are four recognized stages of periodontal disease in dogs:

Stage 1 of Periodontal Disease

Stage 1

In stage 1 periodontal disease also called gingivitis, the gum line is inflamed but there is no evidence of support loss. Treatment involves plaque and calculus removal plus daily plaque prevention and weekly application of OraVet plaque prevention gel.

Stage 1 of Periodontal Disease

Stage 1

In stage 1 periodontal disease also called gingivitis, the gum line is inflamed but there is no evidence of support loss. Treatment involves plaque and calculus removal plus daily plaque prevention and weekly application of OraVet plaque prevention gel.

Stage 2 of Periodontal Disease

Stage 2

In stage 2 periodontal disease (early periodontitis), the tooth begins to loose its support. Treatment involves removal of plaque and calculus, specific periodontal therapy based on examination findings as well as daily plaque prevention and weekly application of OraVet plaque prevention gel.

Stage 3

In stage 3 moderate periodontal disease the loss of tooth support has progressed. Advanced periodontal procedures and stringent plaque prevention may result in saving a tooth.

Stage 4 of Periodontal Disease

Stage 4

In stage 4 periodontal disease (advanced) greater than half of the tooth’s support is lost. Extraction is the commonly recommended treatment of choice.

Common findings in animals that have periodontal disease:

Example of Furcation Involvement

Furcation Involvement

Furcation involvement is loss of some of the bone supporting the area where the roots meet. Often advanced periodontal procedures and daily plaque control can decrease the rate of progression resulting in a saved tooth.

Example of Furcation Exposure

Furcation Exposure

Moderate and advanced periodontal disease can result in loss of the bone support where the roots of multirooted teeth meet. Once Furcation exposure has occurred, tooth extraction is the treatment of choice.

Example of Mucogingival Defects

Mucogingival Defects

Significant loss of gingival tissue over the root often occurs from advanced periodontal disease. Treatment options include extraction or advanced periodontal surgical procedures aimed to saving the tooth.

Example of Attachment Loss

Attachment Loss

Healthy gum tissues attach the tooth to jaw bone. In cases of advanced periodontal disease there is loss of attachment. If left to progress the tooth will eventually become mobile due to this support loss.

Example of Gingival Recession

Gingival Recession

Gingival recession occurs secondary to periodontal disease exposing the tooth root(s). If the tooth is also mobile, extraction is the treatment of choice.

If your pet has not had a dental examination in at least a year, please give us a call today to schedule an appointment.