Dental, or periodontal disease, increases gradually, almost imperceptibly, in our pet dogs. In small breeds, it may take two years to become a significant problem; in larger breeds or when dental hygiene is practiced at home, it may take years longer. But sooner or later, periodontal disease develops, with symptoms of excessive plaque build-up, exposed tooth roots, inflamed gums, loose teeth, bad breath, and dental pain. And it doesn’t stop there. Bacteria from the infected tooth roots get into the bloodstream, settling on the heart valves, airways, and in the kidneys, where they accelerate the degenerative changes of ageing.
It is sadly an everyday experience that an elderly dog is presented with extreme halitosis, loose teeth so painful that he tries to snap if you touch his muzzle, and signs of heart failure that preclude us from doing an anesthetic dentistry. So the teeth remain painful and the infection persists. if only, I think to myself, we could have done a dentistry on this patient BEFORE the teeth got this bad! So when your dog is having its yearly physical, and the doctor points out the periodontal disease, fast forward four or five years and imagine the consequences then of not acting now. Let’s not continue to put off dentistry “’till next year” just because it isn’t terribly bad yet! If you have any questions about the treatment for periodontal disease, don’t hesitate to call.