What is Periodontal Treatment?

Periodontal disease in dogs can be painful and cause other health problems. Periodontal disease starts with bacteria in the dog’s mouth and can end in tooth and bone loss as well as internal organ damage as your dog ages. Periodontal disease is preventable in dogs, but once it’s noticeable to the dog’s owner, it has usually caused some damage and should be treated by a veterinarian. Your veterinarian should be checking your dog’s teeth at every visit. The office staff and vet techs can advise you on how to care for your dog’s teeth at home, including brushing your dog’s teeth, but you should also be visiting your veterinarian for preventive dental care. 

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Periodontal Treatment Procedure in Dogs

Even the simplest of periodontal treatments in your veterinarian’s office will require general anesthesia to keep the dog calm and relaxed. Veterinary technicians can perform a dental cleaning under general anesthesia before the periodontal disease is too severe. This is a procedure you’ll have to schedule with your vet’s office. Your veterinarian will request a fasting of at least 12 hours. During this procedure, your veterinarian will deep clean your dog’s teeth, deep scale, polish, and probe the teeth and gums while assessing the damage to the teeth and gums. In early stages of periodontal disease, these procedures may be enough to eliminate the hard tartar and difficult-to-remove plaque causing problems on the teeth and under the gumline.

Your veterinarian will recommend a schedule to have your dog’s teeth cleaned on a regular basis to keep their mouth and gums healthy. You will also be given instructions on how to do weekly cleanings at home to protect the newly cleaned gums and teeth.

If advanced periodontal disease is present, your veterinarian will want to view X-rays to see the bones and teeth that cannot be seen during a visual exam. If there is extensive bone loss, your veterinarian may recommend pulling the unstable teeth.

Efficacy of Periodontal Treatment in Dogs

Prognosis is good to great for dogs who are cared for at home after treatment. You will need to be able to brush your dog’s teeth every week and see your veterinarian for quarterly or annual dental cleanings. If you are unable to maintain healthy teeth and gums, your dog’s dental health, as well as overall health, will suffer.  

Just how effective this procedure is for your dog depends much on your dog’s overall health and how well you are willing to continue dental maintenance. If your dog’s immune system is weak, there may already be a risk of periodontal disease causing problems elsewhere within your dog’s body. If not treated and properly maintained after treatment, bacteria from your dog’s plaque-ridden gums can enter the bloodstream and then spread to internal organs, causing health issues elsewhere.

Periodontal Treatment Recovery in Dogs

Your dog may come home sleepy and groggy. Give him time to rest comfortably. Your veterinarian may recommend soft foods or the dog’s hard dog food soaked in warm water for easy consumption for the first two meals.

The gums may be tender, and your dog may flinch if you try to examine his mouth. However, after a day or two, your dog should be back to normal.

If your dog has had teeth extracted, the gums may be more sensitive than if he’d only had a dental cleaning. Depending on the number of teeth removed, your veterinarian may recommend a diet change to incorporate soft foods as the dog recovers.

Be sure to start with daily dental brushing to ensure a healthy mouth moving forward.  Your veterinarian will also want to schedule regular dental cleanings in the office to maintain better oral health.

Cost of Periodontal Treatment in Dogs

If your veterinarian is simply cleaning and descaling your dog’s teeth and gums, your costs will be between $250 and $350 per cleaning and scaling. This will include the office visit and anesthesia fees.

If your veterinarian would like radiographs to view any potential bone loss, you can expect to pay an additional $250 to $300. Tooth extractions and additional X-rays following extractions will add $1,000 to $2,000 to your costs. If your dog requires the full cleaning, scaling, extractions, and X-rays, you can expect your total cost to range between $2,000 and $3,000.

Upkeep and maintenance will depend on how often your veterinarian will recommend dental cleaning in the office for your dog. At home, weekly cleanings can be simple and inexpensive with a brush and veterinarian-recommend paste.

Dog Periodontal Treatment Considerations

Dental health can affect your dog’s overall health. Dental maintenance is as important as regular exams with your veterinarian. You can brush your dog’s teeth at home and provide teeth cleaning snacks for your dog, but a visit with your veterinarian will provide the best in deep cleaning and tooth and gum examinations. Gum disease is preventable, but not reversible. Once your dog has been diagnosed with periodontal problems, the damage has been done to their gums, teeth, and/or jaw bones. Though you cannot reverse this condition, you can prevent it from worsening with daily care at home and regular dental cleaning visits per your veterinarian’s recommendation.

Periodontal Treatment Prevention in Dogs

Periodontal disease is completely preventable though irreversible. Be sure to start your puppy off on a healthy diet. Hard foods and treats or teeth cleaning bones can help the dog keep his teeth clean. However, this alone will not prevent dental disease or plaque build-up. Your veterinarian can recommend a teeth cleaning regimen at home to maintain oral health.

Visit with your veterinarian regularly for dental cleanings, which include cleaning your dog’s teeth, checking the gums for swelling and redness, and tartar removal.

Prevention is key to a healthy mouth for your dog. Keeping a healthy dental routine with your dog can prevent gum loss, tooth loss, and bone loss.

Dental upkeep and a healthy mouth can also prevent other diseases as well. Bacteria found in tartar can seep into your dog’s bloodstream via bleeding gums causing infection. Dental health is tied to overall health.