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Periodontal disease is a daily diagnosis made in the veterinary hospital. By 4 years of age, nearly 90% of dogs and cats have developed a form of periodontal disease. Signs of periodontal disease include:

  • Foul breath – this is often the first sign noted by most owners
  • Broken or mobile teeth
  • Calculus/dental tartar formation
  • Reddened gums indicating inflammation and probable disease below the gumline
  • Difficulty chewing or excessive licking/drooling
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Reduced appetite or reluctance to eat

During our routine examinations, each patient’s dental health is assessed and they are given a periodontal grade which ranges from normal (0) to severe (4). The higher the grade, the more likely a dental cleaning procedure will be advised to address all aspects of that pet’s oral health. A dental cleaning procedure does require general anesthesia. General anesthesia allows us to safely and thoroughly perform several dental techniques and minimize pain and discomfort for the patient.

A dental procedure generally involves the following: 

  • Scaling (removal of plaque and tartar) and polishing of all teeth
  • Dental radiographs (x-rays)
  • A thorough dental health assessment on a tooth-by-tooth basis
  • Extraction of any compromised teeth if indicated
  • These procedures are very similar to our own routine dental cleanings!

There are many preventive methods that can help slow the progression of dental disease for dogs and cats. Brushing your pet’s teeth is still the most effective form of plaque and tartar control. Daily brushing is ideal, however, even brushing several times each week can provide a great benefit. There are pet-specific toothbrushes and toothpaste available and regular human toothpaste should NOT be used as the ingredients are not formulated for animal use and can be potentially toxic. There are multiple forms of dental chews/treats and even dental-specific forms of dry kibble that may be given to your pet for routine dental care. We have a variety of recommended products and every patient has a product that is most suitable for their chewing habits. As a resource for the most current veterinary- recommended products, the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) shares a list of products that have been awarded the seal of approval for clinically reducing periodontal disease in pets. Please see links to view the recommended products below:


VOHC Table for Dog Products: http://www.vohc.org/VOHCAcceptedProductsTable_Dogs.pdf
VOHC Table for Cat Products: http://www.vohc.org/VOHCAcceptedProductsTable_Cats.pdf