Pet Periodontal Disease Treatment
Pet Periodontal Disease Affects Up To 70-80% of Pets By Age 3
Pet periodontal disease is inflammation of some or all of a tooth’s deep supporting structures (gingiva, cementum, periodontal ligament, and alveolar bone). It is often referred to as a “silent” disease because in dogs and cats it is usually present but not often treated until it is an advanced stage. Chronic periodontal disease may lead to damage of internal organs or other body systems over time. Fortunately periodontal disease is almost entirely preventable.
By three years of age, most dogs and cats will have some evidence of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is the most common medical condition occurring in adult dogs and cats. Other than bad breath, there are only a few signs of the disease process evident to the owner. It is important to your pet’s health to pursue professional dental cleanings and periodontal therapy periodically throughout your pet’s life. Appropriate preventative care can prevent extensive disease, oral pain and tooth loss.
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Early Periodontal Disease in Pets
Periodontal disease begins when bacteria colonize the teeth in a substance called plaque. Plaque is composed of food particles, saliva and bacteria. When not brushed off, plaque hardens to form calculus (tartar). Calculus provides a rough surface where plaque can more easily accumulate. Once plaque gets under the gum, it will begin to cause gum irritation which leads to an inflammatory condition called gingivitis. Gingivitis is the initial, reversible form of periodontal disease. It is evidenced by a reddening of the gums directly bordering the teeth. If this inflammation is not controlled,the local environment around the tooth begins to change which in turn will attract larger numbers and more virulent types of bacteria. These more virulent species create more severe inflammation that leads to irreversible periodontitis, which is (in most instances) an irreversible loss of alveolar bone and the supporting structures of the tooth.
Advanced Periodontal Disease in Pets
After an extended period, calculus eventually builds up under the gums and it separates from the affected teeth. Pockets, form around the teeth, fostering bacterial growth. As the pockets progress and become deeper there is bone loss, tissue destruction and the formation of pus within the pockets. The loss of gum tissue and bone around the teeth eventually lead to loose and painful teeth, development of a hole or fistula between the oral cavity into the nasal passages and or fracture of the jaw due to weakening of the jbone, from infection otherwise known as osteomyelititis. Bacteria from the mouth can also enter the bloodstream in large numbers and are carried around the body. Studies in dogs and people have shown that periodontal disease is associated with microscopic changes in the heart, liver, and kidneys.
Periodontal Disease Prevention
There is a wide range in the appearance and severity of periodontal disease in pets. Proper evaluation and treatment of periodontal disease in pets always requires general anesthesia.
The cornerstone of periodontal disease prevention and therapy in pets is a professional dental cleaning that includes both scaling and polishing. After your pet’s professional dental cleaning, we will discuss oral homecare which is ideally daily tooth brushing of your pet’s teeth. By definition a professional dental cleaning or dental prophylaxis is the use of appropriate procedures and/or techniques to prevent dental and oral disease. The essence of prophylactic therapy is to control plaque, tartar and infection both above and below the gum line. Periodic professional dental cleanings combined with oral homecare (daily toothbrushing) can help to prevent periodontal disease and thus tooth loss in your dog or cat.