Dental disease, also known as canine periodontitis or periodontal disease, is a bacterial infection of the mouth. Unfortunately, it is very common in all adult dogs no matter their breed or size. Almost immediately after your dog eats bacteria, food particles and saliva begin to form a sticky film over the teeth, known as plaque. If the plaque is not removed, it will continue to build up on your dog’s teeth each and every time they eat. Periodontal disease progresses through 4 stages: beginning with plaque buildup and progressing through to established gingivitis and if left untreated may result in complete tooth loss.
Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease, and the only stage that may be reversible with proper intervention. As the disease process progresses, the gingiva (gum) detaches from the tooth creating an abnormal pocket between the gums and teeth. The space can harbor food, foreign material and bacteria. As more bacteria build, toxins and inflammatory cells cause further destruction of the tissues and teeth, known as periodontitis. This is a more severe form of dental disease, and the subsequent loss of bone is usually irreversible without surgical intervention. As more bone is lost, the tooth loses support, becomes mobile, and will fall out or require extraction.
1. Problems eating/chewing
2. Very red and/or bleeding gums
3. Bad breath
4. Yellow teeth
5. Excessive drooling
6. Pawing at their mouth
If you’ve taken our advice and inspected your dog’s mouth, but do not see any of the 6 warning signs we’ve listed above that may not necessarily mean your pup is in the clear. Be aware of these 3 uncommon signs of canine periodontitis.
1. Not wanting their head touched
2. Irritability and/or anti-social behavior
3. Nasal Discharge
Canine Dental Disease Preventative Measures
Since dogs do not brush their teeth after each meal, it is up to the pet’s parents to take preventative care against dental disease. If you suspect your dog has even a mild case of dental disease, or they have not had an oral examine in the last 6 months, call Ambassador Veterinary Hospital in Union City, NJ for an appointment today. During the initial appointment we will examine your dog’s mouth to get an understanding of how advanced the dental disease is. Afterwards, we will schedule an appointment for a comprehensive dental cleaning which includes general anesthesia, scaling, polishing, and extractions (if needed). Once we get your pup’s teeth back on track, our veterinarians will set you up with regular appointments, as well as prescribe oral hygiene products to use at home, if needed.
Specific breeds, such as Yorkshire terriers, miniature schnauzers, and many other toy and small breed dogs, are more prone to developing periodontal disease. Therefore, a professional dental cleaning should be performed more frequently in patients at greater risk of developing periodontal disease. While gum disease is usually silent, there are several common signs of dental disease in your dog you should look out for. You can begin to look for these signs by simply lifting the lips and inspecting your dog’s mouth. If you notice any of the symptoms listed below, you should contact our Union City, NJ Veterinary Hospital right away to prevent any further gum or tooth damage from occurring.
Canine teeth after dental cleaning by veterinarian.
Canine teeth before the cleaning with excessive tartar buildup and gingivitis.