Periodontal Disease FAQ

perio4!.JPG (67671 bytes)
Severe periodontal disease in a 10-year old Poodle

What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is inflammation of some or all of the tooth's support. When compared to gingivitis, periodontitis indicates bone loss. If left untreated periodontitis may cause loose painful teeth as well as internal disease.

What causes periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is caused by plaque (bacteria). Bacteria is attracted to the tooth surface within hours of a teeth cleaning. Within days, the plaque becomes mineralized producing calculus. As plaque ages and gingivitis develops into periodontitis (bone loss).

What are the signs?
Halitosis or bad breath is the primary sign of periodontal disease. Dogs and cats' breath should not have a disagreeable odor. When periodontal disease advances, inability to chew hard food as well as excessive drooling with or without blood may occur.

tech!.JPG (47340 bytes)
Certified veterinary
technician examining
periodontal pocket depths

How is periodontal disease diagnosed?
Bone loss from periodontal disease occurs below the gumline. In order to evaluate the stage of disease as well as the best treatment, your pet must be examined under general anesthesia. In addition to a visual examination, x-rays and instruments to measure bone loss are used.

tchand!.JPG (87254 bytes)
Curette used to remove tartar from
below the gumline after the teeth
have been ultrasonicly cleaned

How is periodontal disease treated?
Treatment depends on the severity of disease. Grade one and two gingivitis can be treated by teeth cleaning, polishing, and the application of fluoride to help prevent plaque accumulation. Grade three disease will require deep scaling. Once grade four disease occurs, surgery is necessary to treat the affected teeth.

Perio!.JPG (38892 bytes)
Surgical removal of excessive gum tissue
in a Boxer

Medication may be dispensed to use after the teeth cleaning to treat and help prevent periodontal disease progression. Daily tooth brushing is the key to help prevent plaque build up. Special foods are also available to help control calculus.

What is the prognosis for periodontal disease?
Gingivitis is treatable and curable with daily tooth brushing. Periodontal disease is not curable once bone loss occurs, but is controllable once treated and followed up with strict home care.

 


This page last updated on October 31, 2000
Copyright 1997-2000, All Pets Dental Clinic
No portion of this site may be copied without authorization.
If you have any questions about the site, or are referencing it in an article or other website, please notify the webmaster.
Site hosted and maintained by acInternet.

Jan Bellows, DVM
All Pets Dental Clinic
17100 Royal Palm Blvd.
Weston, FL 33326
(954) 349-5800
dentalvet@aol.com