disease is the most common health problem in pets today. By the age of 2, 8-% of dogs and 70% of cats
have some degree of dental disease. The first
stage of dental disease is irritation of the gums around the base of the teeth
(gingival). This results in exposure of
the roots. Ultimately, this leads to infection, erosion of bone and other
supporting tissues, and finally tooth loss. However, severe periodontal
disease can lead to pathological fractures of the lower jaw bones, and/or
erosion of the ventral part of the nasal sinuses leading to an infection that
spans the maxilla (upper jaw bone) and nasal sinuses, called an oronasal
tartar forms, a professional cleaning is necessary. Tarter is cemented
plaque, which tooth brushing or chewing will not remove. Some dogs need yearly
or bi-yearly cleanings; other dogs need a cleaning only once every few years.
cleaning of the teeth requires complete cooperation of the patient so plaque
and tartar can be removed thoroughly, general anesthesia is required. Although
anesthesia always carries a degree of risk, the risk is quite small when proper
preventative monitoring devices are used and safe anesthetics utilized, even
for older dogs and cats. Pre anesthesia blood work is recommended for any
patients 6 years of age and younger, and is required for patients 7 years of
age or older to ensure that there is not any underlying condition?s that may
compromise the patient's safety during the procedure.
If tartar remains on
The tartar can mechanically push the gums away from the roots of the teeth.
This allows the teeth to loosen in their sockets and infection to enter the
root socket. The teeth will loosen and fall out or have to be extracted.
Oral infection sets in, resulting in gingivitis, tonsillitis, and pharyngitis
(sore throat). Although antibiotics may temporarily suppress the infection, if
the tartar is not removed from the teeth, infection will return quickly and
Infection within the mouth has the potential to be picked up by the blood
stream and carried to other parts of the body. Kidney infections, liver
infection, as well as infections involving the heart valves, frequently begin
in the mouth.
Periodontal Disease Facts
-Periodontal disease is the number one health problem in small animal patients.
-By 2 years of age, 80%
of dogs and 70% of cats have some form of periodontal disease. Small-and toy-breed dogs are particularly
-Even after teeth are completely cleaned, plaque forms on
tooth surfaces within 24 hours.
homecare for 1 week can result in gingivitis in some patients; for 3
weeks in all patients.
-One veterinary study found that pockets became reinforced within 2 weeks of dental cleaning if
homecare was not performed.
-Research has shown that inflammation persists while the gingival
(gums) is exposed to plaque but that inflammation
will resolve after plaque removal.
-Dental disease, especially periodontal disease (bone
infection), is the number one cause of
oral osteomyelitis- an area of dead, infected bone.
-The size of the oral cavity (and teeth) of animal patients
means that periodontal infection likely represents a more severe issue in veterinary patients than in the vast
majority of humans.
-It is critical to note that even gingivitis (i.e., no bone
loss) can create systemic consequences.
professional cleanings is not good medicine, especially in pets
susceptible to the negative effects of bacteremias, such as those with
diabetes, mellitus (bacteria in the blood stream), liver/kidney disease, or
heart murmurs/low grade heart disease.
-These patients should undergo professional dental therapy due to the health benefits it provides.