According to Dr. Molly Farrell, DVM, periodontal disease is a very common disease of the teeth and gums. By the age of 3, most pets have some degree of periodontal disease.
It occurs when bacteria multiply in the area where the teeth and gums meet. The bacteria causes inflammation of the gums, and as this inflammation progresses, periodontal disease gets worse and worse. It can cause immense pain in your pet and lead to serious infection, and when left untreated the infection can spread to the heart, liver, and kidneys.
Advanced periodontal disease is irreversible, so staying on top of your pet’s preventive dental hygiene routine is incredibly important in making sure your pet lives a longer, healthier life.
In veterinary medicine, periodontal disease is usually categorized into four grades:
- Grade 1: Inflammation of the gum tissue surrounding the teeth.
- Grade 2: Inflammation of the gum tissue and bleeding gums. At this grade, 25% of tissue attachment to teeth is missing, which can cause loss of teeth.
- Grade 3: Inflamed and bleeding gums with pustular discharge due to the infection. The pet’s mouth will begin to smell rancid and there will be moderate bone loss with anywhere from 25 to 50% decrease of attachment.
- Grade 4: The same symptoms as a Grade 3 including severe bone loss and tooth mobility. At this grade, there is a likelihood of 50% or more of the attachment loss.
If you have any questions about dental health and periodontal disease, chat with our vets here.