Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease directly affects the tooth support and may indirectly affect vital organs, including the heart, kidneys and brain. It starts as a minor reaction to plaque (gingivitis) and often progresses to major inflammation, pain and tooth loss.

Common warning signs include:

  • Plaque and calculus buildup
  • Gingival recession
  • Mobile teeth
  • Excessive salivation
  • Chewing difficulties
  • Halitosis

It is critical that we effectively communicate the risks of periodontal disease to our clients and gain their compliance for optimum oral healthcare.

The Four Stages of Periodontal Disease

There are four stages of periodontal disease. Once a specific stage is diagnosed, tailored therapy and prevention of future disease is recommended.

Stage 1: Gingivitis

Therapy involves removing plaque from the teeth and encouraging pet owners to perform home care such as tooth brushing, wipes and/or dental treats.

Stage 2: Early periodontal disease exists when <25% tooth support is lost.

Therapy involves removing a small amount of gum tissue (gingivectomy) or applying a local antibiotic (Doxirobe) in cases of small pockets. Where there is gum recession, usually home preventive care is all that is recommended after the teeth are cleaned.

Stage 3: Established periodontal disease exists when 25%–50% tooth support is lost.

Treatment involves decreasing or eliminating the periodontal pocket if present.

Stage 4: Advanced periodontal disease exists when >50% tooth support is lost.

Because there is very little support of the teeth, extraction is the treatment of choice. Prevention of periodontal disease affecting adjacent teeth is very important.