Periodontal Disease

posted: by: County Line Veterinary Service Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

February is National Pet Dental Health month.  It seems that every month around this clinic is pet dental health month.  Our most common surgical procedure is a periodontal evaluation.  As with people, prevention of periodontal disease is always the goal of any clinic performing periodontal care.  Prevention is always cheaper than cure!    Hopefully this page and the following pictures of a periodontal surgery will help to inforce the importance of proper dental care for your pet.

Periodontal disease is a process that causes the breakdown of the structures that cradle the teeth in their normal position.  The gum line forms the first line of defense against periodontal disease.  Bacteria collect here and can destroy this defense barrier.  Bacteria then gain access to the vulnerable periodontal structures and damage the tooth.  This process causes the teeth to loosen and eventually fall out.  Brownish-black material called tartar ( a concentration of mineralized bacteria) may collect on the teeth, and/or the gums and cause bleeding of the gum tissue.  Such signs indicate periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease can also lead to other disease problems in your pet.  Once the bacteria gain access to the blood, they can travel anywhere in your pet's body.  The most common organs effected by bacteria are kidneys, liver, heart, and brain.  SERIOUS DISEASE PROBLEMS can result from these infections.

  • Brownish-black tartar collects on your pet's teeth.
  • Your pet's gums bleed.
  • Your pet has bad breath.
  • Your pet's teeth are loose or mouth seems painful.
  • You notice any broken or fractured teeth in your pets mouth.


7) Treatment of periodontal disease includes removing the tartar and polishing the teeth, BOTH on the tooth's surface and below the gum line.

6) Surgical trimming of excess gum tissue may also be required to eliminate the pockets that form at the gum line and collect foreign material and bacteria.

5) A general anesthetic is necessary for these procedures.  Lab tests may be required to determine your pet's ability to undergo anesthesia.

4) Oral hygiene may be performed at home by brushing or wiping the teeth with special toothpastes and sealants.  This does not completely eliminate the need for professional care, but it will reduce the need for future periodontal procedures.  We suggest brushing your pet's teeth daily or a minimum of 3 times weekly and using OraVet sealant at least once weekly.  There is now a vaccine available that will help save teeth, BUT IT MUST BE USED ALONG WITH BRUSHING, NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR BRUSHING.

3) Pets are living longer, so it is extremely important to maintain their oral health through out their entire life.

2) Periodontal disease will shorten the length and quality of your pet's life.  It will shorten their life by being a direct cause of infection in the urinary system, heart, liver, brain and even bones.

THE NUMBER 1 REASON)  Periodontal disease is PAINFUL!! PLEASE DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE PAIN IS OBVIOUS-  that is several YEARS too late.

These pictures are from a surgery on "Frank".  This pet was only 5 years old, but required 24 extractions along with 6 bone grafts to correct his periodontal disease.  After a 4 hour surgery, Frank was ready to go home within 2 hours.  This just demonstrates that his mouth was already SO PAINFUL that 24 extractions did not even bother him!  It is truly amazing how our pets do not demonstrate oral pain until it is completely unbearable.

Periodontal Surgery