Periodontal disease if the most common disease condition in dogs and cats. Most dogs and cats by age three have signs of periodontal disease, but it can even be seen in pets less than one year of age. Periodontal disease can range from gingivitis to severe bone loss around the teeth and the only clinical sign that may be noticed is bad breath. Bacteria are responsible for periodontal disease. These bacteria that are found in the plaque and calculus can colonize the area below the gum line and secrete substances that can damage the bone and soft tissues. This can lead to gingivitis, gum loss, bone loss and eventual loss of the tooth. Even worse, periodontal disease can also have systemic consequences. In humans, evidence suggests a relationship between periodontal disease and heart disease, diabetes, cancer, lung disease and other systemic problems.
Diagnosing Periodontal Disease
- A complete oral exam is performed under general anesthesia.
- Each tooth (42 in a dog & 30 in a cat) must be evaluated and a periodontal probe checks for periodontal pockets around the teeth.
- Abnormal conditions are charted in the medical record.
- Dental radiographs (x-rays) are mandatory to diagnose, treat and manage periodontal disease properly.
Treatment for Periodontal Disease
- Supra- and Subgingival (above and below the gum line) Scaling/Polishing.
- Dental radiographs (x-rays) are required to diagnose and treat.
- Perform periodontal therapy (root planing) based on the radiographic findings and probing depths.
- Perform periodontal surgery (flap surgery, extractions, bone/tissue grafts) on severely affected areas.
- Medications such as antibiotics or rinses may be dispensed.
- Good home care is essential (brushing, dental diets, oral rinses, etc.) to maintain good oral health.
- Follow-up evaluations are required and should be scheduled at the recommended intervals depending on the amount of disease.
Recommended Intervals for Follow Up Evaluations
|Healthy Mouth||Every 6-12 Months|
|Gingivitis||Every 6 Months|
|Periodontitis||Every 3-6 Months|
|Advanced Periodontal Disease||Monthly Until Controlled|