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Four stages of Periodontal Disease:

Stage 0: No gingivitis. Gums are smooth, thin, & pink. Bone attachment reaches to the base of the tooth crown.

Treatment Plan: Acclimate your pet to a toothbrush and animal toothpaste. Brushing daily is ideal.

Stage 1: Gingivitis only with no loss of bone attachment. Mild amount of plaque and tartar; gums have redness, rolled appearance at the margin.
Treatment Plan: Daily brushing will control the condition. Professional dental cleaning recommended now and every 12-18 months depending on how quickly the gingivitis worsens and tartar accumulates.

Stage 2: Early periodontitis. Moderate amount of plaque and tartar with plaque extending underneath the gum line. Increased redness and swelling of the gums, some pain in the mouth, worsening breath odor. Mild pockets developing with bone loss around the tooth or teeth of less than 25%. Many of the symptoms are hidden and can only be found once the pet is under anesthetic.

Treatment Plan: Professional dental cleaning/treatment strongly recommended now to remove the plaque and tartar above and especially below the gum line. Follow through with daily home care. This will control the disease and improve the gingivitis, but not cure the disease. Once bone is lost, it is not replaced. Professional dental treatment should be performed approximately every 12 months.

Stage 3: Moderate periodontitis. Heavier amounts of plaque and tartar. Severe inflammation, swelling, and bleeding of the gums. Gum tissue receding around teeth with bone loss between 25-50%. This condition is painful. The breath is starting to smell putrid.

Treatment Plan: Professional dental treatment as soon as possible in order to stop the disease process and save as many major teeth as possible. Radiographs, some extractions, and/or periodontal surgery are common in this stage. Daily home care still vital to preserve major teeth. Professional dentistry recommended every 6-12 months.

Stage 4: Advanced periodontitis. Extreme amounts of tartar, severe inflammation of the gums, pus around teeth, horrible breath. Very deep pockets with more than 50% bone loss, mobile teeth. Patient is definitely in pain, may not be eating well.


Treatment Plan: Professional dental treatment with antibiotic therapy as soon as possible. Radiographs and numerous extractions are to be expected. Home care should continue with any remaining teeth. Oral condition should be re-evaluated in 3-6 months.

Chlorhexadine is considered the gold standard for oral antiseptics.  Chlorhexadine can be added to the pets water and is a coating on rawhides to help prevent dental disease.  Ask your veterinarian about these products.

Photos Source: Four stages of periodontal disease. Digital image. Lets Brush up on Periodontal Disease. Pet Dentistry- 30Avet, 2016. Web. 28 Dec. 2016. <http://www.30avet.com/pet-dentistry/>.