Periodontal disease is a painful condition in which bacteria attack the gums, the ligament and bone surrounding the teeth and their roots. Periodontal infection begins with an invisible layer of plaque that eventually hardens into calculus and tartar. Gums progressively become red, swollen and painful, a condition called gingivitis. Up to 75% of pets older than 3 years old suffer from some degree of periodontal and gingival disease.
Signs of periodontal disease include: bad breath, build-up of yellow-brown tartar on the teeth, red, swollen or bleeding gums, pain when eating or chewing toys, pawing at the mouth, tooth loss, subdued behaviour and dribbling saliva.
It’s important to have a regular annual dental and health check-up for your pet because if they have dental disease or a toothache, you are unlikely to notice. Any smelly breath, yellow tartar build-up or signs of discomfort eating (e.g. dropping food) can be signs they have dental disease and need a dental examination.
A check up may reveal the need for cleaning, polishing, tooth extraction or even just a change in diet to prevent the problems and do away with the need for yearly cleans. Remember, your pet will look and function better and also live longer with healthy teeth and gums.
Tartar build-up can serve as a place for bacteria to reside and multiply in the mouth. Those bacteria eventually get into the blood stream and get deposited into various organs such as the brain, the heart and the kidneys where they can create serious life-threatening disorders.
Tartar also cause the gum to recede and attacks the bone surrounding the teeth and their roots. As a result the teeth become loose, painful and eventually fall out if left untreated. Other conditions such as abscesses and fistulae can result from such infection.
A professional examination and assessment is the best way to determine if your pet has dental disease and in such case a dental treatment will be recommended. It is usually performed under general anaesthesia and consists initially of a detailed and professional charting of your pet’s mouth where all abnormal findings such as cavities, tartar, gingivitis and missing, damaged or fractured teeth are recorded. Then a manual clean under the gums and an ultra-sonic scaling are performed to remove the plaque and tartar from the teeth. Finally the teeth are polished to leave them nice and smooth preventing further accumulation of plaque and tartar. If need be extractions will be performed and pain relief will be provided.
To avoid complications and extensive fees early intervention is the key of the success.
If you have any questions do not hesitate to book your animal for a dental check.