How it starts and progresses Periodontal disease starts out as a bacterial film called plaque. The bacteria attaches to the teeth. When the bacteria die they can be calcified by calcium in saliva. This forms a hard, rough substance called tartar or calculus, which allows more plaque to accumulate. Initially, plaque is soft and brushing or chewing hard food and toys can dislodge it. If left to spread, plaque can lead to gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums, causing them to become red and swollen and to bleed easily. As plaque and calculus develop below the gum line, professional cleaning will be needed to help manage it. If the plaque and tartar buildup continues unchecked, infection can form around the root of the tooth.
In the final stages of periodontal disease, the tissues surrounding the tooth are destroyed, the bony socket holding the tooth in erodes, and the tooth becomes loose. This is a very painful process for your four-legged friend, but these problems can be averted before they start with proper dental care.
Oral Pre-anesthetic Examinations: As pets age, your veterinarian will examine your pet for developmental anomalies, accumulation of plaque and tartar, periodontal disease, and oral tumors. The veterinarian can perform a basic oral examination while pets are awake. However, short-lasting anesthetic is required for a more complete examination.
Anesthesia Monitoring–When your pet is under anesthesia, its vital signs (such as body temperature, heart rate, and respiration) should be monitored and recorded. This helps ensure your pet’s safety while under anesthesia.
Scaling and Polishing–Using instruments much like human dentists, veterinarians remove plaque and calculus from your pet’s teeth. Polishing with a special paste smooths out scratches to the tooth enamel.
Fluoride–By applying an anti-plaque substance, such as a fluoride treatment, the veterinarian helps strengthen and desensitize teeth and discourage the development of future plaque.
Pet owners also play an important role in their animals’ oral health. Regular teeth brushing at home coupled with regular dental check-ups can help your pet live a longer, healthier life.