Levels of Dental Disease

Your pet is an important part of your family, and when he or she is ill, you want the best medical care available.

Levels of Dental Disease

Dental disease is graded from 0 – 4, the higher the number the worse it is. One indicates mild plaque and tartar buildup, four being the worst that usually involves extraction of teeth. Continual accumulation of plaque and tartar causes pressure and inflammation of the gum tissue and the mouth becomes a source of infection for other body tissues.
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No plaque, no gingivitis

Mild plaque and tartar, easily cleaned off during a dental prophylaxis

Mild to moderate plaque and tartar, gingivitis can occur

Moderate tartar may begin to see signs of tooth mobility and pocketing, extractions may be recommended

severe tartar, teeth may fall out due to loss of bony attachment, concern about tooth root abscessation, may see pus/infection, inflammation, and pain; extractions likely recommended

Tooth root abscess – infections can develop at the base of a tooth with dental disease. These infections, if left to progress, can eventually form draining tracts around the mouth and sometimes near the eyes.


Teeth that appear worn down can be due to an inappropriate tooth on tooth wear or toys. Tennis balls present a common cause for worn down teeth as the surface is coarse like sandpaper. Slowly worn down teeth can develop a protective layer over the pulp cavity called tertiary dentin that is brown in appearance. If wear is extensive or the pulp cavity is exposed extractions may be recommended.

Tooth fractures

Itoothfracturef a tooth is fractured to the point that the pulp cavity is exposed it is recommended to remove the tooth as the pulp cavity exposure can predispose it to pain and infection.