Shiner Animal Hospital site maintained by Wink's Tech Solutions, LLC
Having healthy teeth and gums is an essential part of your pet's overall health. This is why we check your pet's mouth for signs of disease as part of his/her general exam.
After examining the mouth of your pet, our vets can offer dietary and at-home preventative care recommendations to keep your pet's teeth and gums as healthy as possible. Our clinic is also equipped to provide professional dental cleanings and/or dental extractions if your pet is in need of these services. It is important to remember that even with consistent at-home care, animals also need periodic dental cleaning, just like people.
There are 4 main stages of periodontal (oral cavity) disease in animals:
Stage 1: Gingivitis, which is the inflammation of the gums due to the presence of tartar and bacteria, is the main finding in this stage. You may see a thin red line on the gums near the teeth or notice some swelling of the gums.
Stage 2: Also known as early periodontitis, you may notice gingivitis, bad breath, and some visible plaque and tartar in this stage. Your pet will need a professional dental cleaning to thoroughly remove the plaque and tartar, and to reverse the progress of dental disease. Oral radiographs taken at this stage reveal only a small amount of bone loss - less than 25%.
Stage 3: This stage is called moderate periodontitis, and extensive dental damage has begun to occur. Radiographs of the mouth show 25-50% bone loss. Your pet's gums are swollen and irritated, and may bleed easily. Periodontal pockets have begun to form. This occurs when the ligament that attaches the gum to the tooth begins to break down. Your pet may need to have infected and/or damaged teeth removed. There is often pain associated with the infected teeth.
Stage 4: Also known as severe or end-stage periodontitis, oral radiographs show bone loss of over 50% in this stage. Your pet is in chronic pain, and will likely need multiple teeth extracted. The infection in your pet's mouth has become so advanced that bacteria are likely to enter the bloodstream and migrate to other organs in the body, such as the heart or kidneys, causing infection and damage.