At Wooded Acres Animal Hospital in Middle Island, we’re dedicated to keeping your pet’s mouth healthy and pain free.
What Is Periodontitis?
Periodontal disease starts when bacteria in an animal’s mouth create a film of plaque on teeth. Bacteria and plaque eventually make their way under the gums, where they cause inflammation of the soft tissue (gingivitis). As the condition progresses, bacteria start to destroy teeth and the bone that anchors them (periodontitis), leading to pain, tooth loss, bone infection, and increased risk of jaw fractures. The bacteria may also enter your pet’s bloodstream, spreading infection to the liver, kidneys, or heart.
What to Look For
The earlier periodontal disease is diagnosed, the better your pet’s chance of recovery. Unfortunately, the initial stages can be hard to spot. Watch for:
• bad breath
• inflamed or bleeding gums
• loose or missing teeth
• blood in the water bowl or on toys
• trouble chewing
By the time these symptoms become obvious, the problem may be quite advanced. The best way to catch it early is to bring your pet in for a full dental exam and cleaning at least once a year.
If your pet has a mild case of gingivitis with no bone loss, a thorough cleaning may be enough to stop the problem in its tracks. If the disease has advanced to the point where teeth are losing their support, your veterinarian will consider more specialized treatments:
- applying antibiotics under the gums
- root planing
- root canal
- crown restoration
- tooth extraction
Because most periodontal disease is hidden under the gumline, dental radiographs, commonly called x-rays, are an essential part of your pet’s checkup. They allow us to examine teeth in detail: their structure and density, their roots, and the surrounding bone. They also help us spot abscesses and other infections. Radiographs usually require your pet to be anesthetized.
Protecting Your Pet’s Oral Health
- Periodontitis starts with plaque. That means that a daily home-brushing routine can do a lot to prevent it. It also makes annual veterinary cleanings less stressful for your pet. Ask your vet about tools and techniques. We’ll be happy to share our expertise.
- Our vets at Wooded Acres Animal Hospital recommend plaque-fighting treats for both cats and dogs.
- Be sure your pet gets a full dental examination and cleaning at least once a year.