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PERIODONTAL DISEASE IN LITTLE DOGS
Little dogs are predisposed to PD mostly because of their anatomy - their teeth are too big for their heads. As a result, their teeth are crowded together and there is proportionally a large amount of tooth surface area in their smalll mouths; both of these conditions create the perfect situation for plaque and tartar to build up and PD to occur.
As periodontal disease progresses the teeth become loose, the mouth becomes painful and infected, and the inflammation and infection can have negative effects throughout the dog's body, including contributing to heart disease, kidney disease, and even arthritis.
(Because of the necessity of anesthesia, and sometimes cleaning and x-rays, the estimates we provide before the pet's dental procedure are often inaccurate, and need to be revised following the anesthetized exam.)
THE GOAL OF TREATMENT
Sometimes owners will ask why we don't just "remove all the teeth and get it over with". We do not remove teeth that are only mildly affected because these extractions are much more traumatic than removing teeth in badly diseased areas. Also, removal of the more severely affected surrounding teeth often allows the gums around the mildly affected teeth to heal. In other words, we attempt to balance minimizing the number of procedures a patient has with avoiding seriously traumatic oral surgery.
We repeat this procedure on a schedule individualized for each patient. A typical schedule is once every three to six months until the patient's PD is relatively minimal and stable, or until all the teeth are removed.