Approximately 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by age three. The first sign is halitosis (bad breath)! Periodontal disease is the major cause of tooth loss in pets and may spread infections to the liver, heart, lung, kidneys and even the brain. Gum disease is painful. Many pets suffer from periodontal disease and often don’t complain of the chronic discomfort. Periodontal disease and tooth loss is totally preventable in many cases and controllable in the rest with regular dental cleanings and daily home care.
Why do some pets get it and others don’t?
In dogs and cats, as in humans, genetics play an important role in the development of periodontal disease. Other factors play a role including diet, chewing habits, general health and immune status, and crowding or rotation of teeth.
How do we treat it?
Just like your teeth, your pet can benefit from an oral evaluation and diagnosis of dental disease. The first step to treating periodontal disease is determining the degree of bone loss by measuring pocket depths around each tooth, checking for loose teeth, and noting gum inflammation. Dental radiographs show the degree of bone loss below the gumline and often reveal painful disease that cannot be detected by exam alone. Treatment may involve scaling calculus above and below the gumline, antibiotic therapy, surgery of the gums, and bone replacement techniques. For more information about our dentistry services, click on the “Dentistry” tab above and check out these related articles:
How do we prevent it?
Start early! If your pet is less than 1 year of age, brushing daily can prevent periodontal disease. If your pet is more than 1 year of age, after an initial diagnosis and dental cleaning under anesthesia, we can slow and even prevent the progression of periodontal disease with regular dental home care.