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(207) 846-6515 H
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(207) 846-6515

PERIODONTAL DISEASE

PERIODONTAL DISEASE is inflammation of some or all of a tooth's supporting structures. The earliest stage is gingivitis, seen as redness along the edge of the gums. As periodontal disease progresses to it's later stages, more and more of the tooth's soft tissue and bone support is lost. The tooth eventually becomes loose.

ORAL INFECTION, PAIN AND SYSTEMIC EFFECTS (effects on other organs, including the heart, kidneys, nervous system and joints) accompany the progression of periodontal disease. Over 80% of all dogs and cats have some degree of  of this problem.  

PLAQUE is the almost-invisible sticky substance on tooth surfaces that is formed by bacteria mixing with saliva and fluid from the gums. As plaque thickens it becomes mineralized, turning into calculus (also called tartar).  Calculus is a gray-to-brown cement-like substance that can be readily seen on the tooth surfaces. As it thickens, calculus creates a perfect environment up under the gumline - a periodontal pocket -  for the growth of some very bad bacteria; these bacteria and their toxic by-products inflame and destroy the soft tissues and bone around the tooth. 

DIAGNOSIS of periodontal disease begins with the exam of the awake patient, but is not complete without an anesthetized exam that includes probing under the gumline for pockets and x-rays to assess the various boney changes. For some patients additional testing is needed, including blood testing and biopsies.

TREATMENT is aimed at controlling plaque and preventing the destructive forms of periodontal disease from occurring. Gingivitis, the earliest stage, is potentially reversible; with proper treatment the gingiva can be returned to normal and maintained. Periodontitis, the later stages, is controllable but not practically reversible.

Thorough professional dental cleaning is the most important treatment for early periodontal disease; advanced periodontal disease necessitates adding more advanced procedures such as periodontal pocket therapies and tooth extractions. Antibiotics alone will never control periodontal disease, but we often use them in conjunction with professional cleaning. At Yarmouth Veterinary Center we make liberal use of re-examinations; these allow us to determine the proper interval between these therapies for each of our patients individually.

At-home care is very important but does not replace the professional cleaning. Various home care strategies are discussed elsewhere in YVC DENTAL. 


Office Hours

DayOpenClose
Monday7:306:00
Tuesday7:306:00
Wednesday7:306:00
Thursday7:306:00
Friday7:306:00
Saturday8:0012:00; Also, 4 pm Boarding Pick-up
Sunday4:00pmBoarding Pick-up
Day Open Close
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
7:30 7:30 7:30 7:30 7:30 8:00 4:00pm
6:00 6:00 6:00 6:00 6:00 12:00; Also, 4 pm Boarding Pick-up Boarding Pick-up