Preventive care is essential to keep your pet healthy and happy for life, and pet dental care is a big part of that approach. It’s been reported that 85% of dogs and cats have some form of dental disease by the age of 3. But did you know that pet periodontal disease is actually preventable?

It’s important to know there are multiple stages of pet periodontal disease. Without a dental exam, x-rays, and cleaning, there’s no way to know if your pet’s oral health is at risk.

Stages of Pet Periodontal Disease

Below, The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital have outlined the four stages of dental disease and the treatment recommended for each:

Stage 0 — Okay, we know we said four stages of pet periodontal disease, but we think it’s important to know what oral health looks like. In this stage, the teeth are clean and white; the gums are flat against the teeth with healthy pink tissue.

Regular tooth brushing, dental exams, and periodic dental cleanings will keep things looking and feeling great!

Stage 1 — Mild gingivitis and plaque

The gums are inflamed and slightly swollen; some plaque and tartar buildup is evident. However, at this stage, there’s no indication of bone loss. Treatment includes regular at home care, dental exams, and professional cleanings to remove plaque and tartar.

Stage 2 — Moderate gingivitis

This stage is called early periodontitis because the teeth have begun to lose the supporting bone underneath. Gums are swollen and red, and there’s significant plaque and tartar buildup. In addition to a dental exam and cleaning, tooth-specific interventions may be needed, but the teeth may still be saved. After cleaning, at home dental care is imperative to prevent further bone loss.

Stage 3 — Severe gingivitis

In this stage, bone loss has progressed, and there’s marked plaque and tartar buildup coupled with swollen, painful, and bleeding gums. Gum recession is common. At this stage, only advanced veterinary dentistry can save teeth, and extractions may be recommended.

Stage 4 — Severe periodontal disease

At this stage, we may be unable to save teeth, as bone loss is too pronounced. Pets with severe periodontal disease are not only at risk of losing teeth, but the infection in the mouth can seep into the bloodstream, overwhelming the immune system. This could lead to problems in the heart, liver, kidneys, and lungs, resulting in decreased life span.

Prevention and Treatment

Because animals are so good at hiding signs of pain and disease, you may not notice anything is wrong until your pet is in a more advanced stage. During their preventive care exam, we can show you where your pet falls in the 4 stages of pet periodontal disease and discuss prevention and treatment strategies.

Please call us with any questions or to schedule your pet’s next dental exam. We are offering 20% off pet dental cleanings in February. Together, we can give your pet a lifetime of good health!