Signs of Periodontal Disease
Initially, Periodontal Disease might not be visible if it is plaque only. Once the plaque starts to create gingivitis and calculus then we can start to see the signs.
Some owners may look at their pet’s teeth at home, and see the visible signs of Periodontal Disease.
Others first notice the early signs such as bad breath (halitosis), which is produced by oral bacteria. Some people notice a change in their eating habits, reporting that their pet chews on one side of their mouth, prefers wet food to dry food, or resents their mouth being touched. These can be signs of oral pain in some animals.
Many owners report that their pet “doesn’t seem painful because they are still eating”. Periodontal disease is painful, but many animals won’t show obvious signs of oral pain and will continue eating, even with severe oral disease. Almost every vet will tell you that they have seen many cases of horrific dental and periodontal disease in dogs and cats that are still eating. In those cases, once the dental and periodontal disease is treated, many owners will later say that their pet is suddenly livelier and more playful. We know from human dentistry that dental and periodontal disease is painful, and we determine the same to be true for our four-legged friends.
Periodontal Disease is graded on a scale of 1 to 4, with 1 being the lowest grade.
Grade 1 Periodontal Disease
Plaque will be present, and early signs of tartar may be developing on the teeth. The gingiva may be starting to become slightly red and slightly swollen with mild gingivitis. This level of Periodontal disease is often reversible with appropriate homecare and management.
Grade 2 Periodontal Disease
Tartar and calculus will be clearly visible on several teeth, with more pronounced gingivitis. The edges of the gingiva that meet the tooth will be noticeably red, and swollen. It is likely that mild oral pain is developing. This level of Periodontal Disease is often reversible with a professional veterinary scale and polishing procedure.