Halitosis: Have you ever wondered why your pets’ breath smells so bad? Just like humans, plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria covers the surface of the teeth. If not removed by brushing this plaque can build up and harden into calculus (tartar). Once calculus is present is cannot be removed by brushing alone. This is where a dental cleaning and assessment is required.
Loose teeth: Periodontal disease can lead to loose teeth in adult dogs. The bacterial associated with periodontal disease leads to gum and degeneration of the bone surrounding the roots. Periodontal ligaments and fibers that hold the teeth in place become infected and lose their strength to hold the teeth in the appropriate socket. This can lead to systemic infection and misalignment of surrounding teeth. Often these teeth need to be extracted because they cannot be corrected.
Gingivitis: Is when the gum tissue is red, swollen, inflamed and usually some level of bleeding. There are 3 stages of gingivitis from mild to severe. Mild gingivitis is usually present during the early stages of periodontal disease showing minimal signs of swelling and redness. Severe gingivitis is usually associated with spontaneous bleeding, swelling, and ulcerations.
: An epulis or epulides (multiple masses) are masses involving the gum tissue. Any masses located within the oral cavity should be evaluated by your veterinarian. Your veterinarian may suggest a biopsy to determine the type of mass. Some masses may go unnoticed, may bleed, become malodorous, or grow very rapidly.
Some breeds of dogs (boxers, bull dogs, cocker spaniels, collies, and great danes) are more prone to developing extra gum tissue called hyperplasia or hyperplastic gingiva. Although routinely benign this can lead to increased sulcus depth trapping bacteria, hair, food, and other debris subjecting the teeth to progressive periodontal disease. This generally requires a surgical procedure called a gingivectomy to remove the excessive gingival tissue.
Written by Cindy Handselman, LVT at PIttsfield Veterinary Hospital
Cindy Hanselman, LVT
Lead Surgical Technician & Inventory Manager