There are 4 stages of dental disease in dogs and cats ranging from healthy normal (periodontal disease 0) to periodontal disease stage 4. Leaving a sick mouth untreated presents major risks.
When your pet is at Stage 1, tartar build-up has started and there is the appearance of slightly red swollen gums. At this stage, your pet does not have bone loss. Brushing your pet’s teeth at this stage may cause pain. Treatment and prevention remain the same as it did for a healthy normal mouth. Teeth should be cleaned at this stage to prevent the progression to Stage 2.
By Stage 2, a companion animal has significant gum swelling, and the crowns of some teeth appear worn down. Pets at this stage may have bone loss of up to 25 percent. Dogs and cats at this stage should have an immediate professional cleaning performed under general anesthesia. It is still possible to prevent further bone loss at this point.
Pets who reach Stage 3 of periodontal disease have serious bone loss. It is not always possible to see this by looking at the teeth and gums because up to 70 percent of your pet’s teeth lie below the gum line. At this stage, full mouth dental x-rays will confirm bone loss. Treatment options may include extraction of one or more teeth. It is sometimes possible to save a pet’s tooth at Stage 3 if the owner is firmly committed to daily oral healthcare at home.
At Stage 4, tooth extraction is the only option to remove painful, diseased teeth and restore a healthy mouth. It is better to prevent periodontal disease than to treat it later. Please contact us if you have questions about your pet’s oral health or would like to schedule an evaluation and/or cleaning.
Dental disease is progressive. If not addressed, it becomes more severe, expensive and risky to treat. Professional dental exams on a regular basis are mandatory to maintain good oral health. The frequency of professional dental cleanings will vary depending on the breed, age of the pet, and the amount of home care that is provided. Schedule a dental evaluation today!