Dental Disease Stages for Dogs
Periodontal disease is the most common clinical disease in pets, affecting 8 out of 10 dogs over the age of three. It is a condition of the gum tissue caused by plaque and tartar buildup on the teeth, especially below the gum line. Fortunately, periodontal disease is preventable with basic care and regular veterinary checkups.
If your dog is over three years old and has not had proper dental care, they may already have periodontal disease. Even though it may not seem like a big problem at first, periodontal infections can lead to more serious health problems.
Periodontal disease is completely reversible in pets if it is not too advanced, so it is important to recognize it early. This disease has four stages, each with its own signs and symptoms.
If you notice any signs of periodontal disease in your dog, such as bad breath, red or swollen gums, or loose teeth, schedule a dental cleaning right away. Early treatment can help to prevent serious health problems and keep your dog’s mouth healthy.
First Stage of Periodontal Disease in Pets
Stage 1 periodontal disease is the mildest form of the disease. At this stage, the pet’s gums may be inflamed and sensitive, and there may be a thin red line on the gum next to the teeth. Plaque may also be visible, but it is still relatively easy to remove.
Calculus, or hardened plaque, may have started to form at this stage, but it is not guaranteed. If calculus has formed, it is important to have it removed by a veterinarian.
Stage 1 periodontal disease is reversible if no calculus has yet formed. This can be done with a thorough cleaning of all accumulated plaque and daily use of a pet dental water additive.
Second Stage of Periodontal Disease in Pets
Stage 2 periodontal disease is more severe than stage 1. The gums are more inflamed and swollen, and there is more plaque and calculus buildup. This can lead to bad breath and loose teeth.
At this stage, the red line on the pet’s gum will be wider and more noticeable. This is a big problem because it can cause pain and destabilize the pet’s immune system, often leading to infections.
Stage 2 periodontal disease cannot be treated at home.
The good news is that stage 2 periodontal disease is reversible with professional cleaning and diligent home care. Here are some tips for preventing stage 2 periodontal disease:
Third Stage of Periodontal Disease in Pets
Stage 3 periodontal disease is past the point of prevention helping. It is important to avoid this stage at all costs, as it can cause serious damage to the pet’s gums and teeth, as well as their overall health.
Unfortunately, many pet owners do not notice periodontal disease until it has reached stage 3. At this stage, the gums are inflamed, swollen, and bleed easily. Periodontal pockets, which are areas of inflammation between the teeth and gums, have formed. Bone loss is also likely occurring due to the bacterial toxins that are released. Calculus buildup will be significant, and the pet will have bad breath.
Stage 3 periodontal disease can lead to a number of serious health problems, including infections of the kidneys, liver, and heart. However, it is still treatable with professional dental care and diligent home care.
If your pet has stage 3 periodontal disease, schedule a dental cleaning immediately. This stage requires deep cleaning to remove the plaque and calculus, and typically antibiotics and other treatments.
Fourth Stage of Periodontal Disease in Pets
Stage 4 periodontal disease is the most severe and advanced stage of the disease. It is characterized by severe inflammation, gum recession, deep periodontal pockets, bone loss, tooth mobility, and profuse bleeding. At this stage, the damage to the pet’s gums and teeth is extensive and irreversible.
Medical treatment is necessary, and sometimes includes tooth extractions. It is important to have your pet evaluated by a veterinarian immediately if they have stage 4 periodontal disease, as it can cause other serious health problems.
Simple cleaning will not be effective at treating stage 4 periodontal disease. Extractions and other dental procedures are likely necessary. Extensive post-surgical care will be required, including frequent and thorough cleanings, medication application, and feeding.