Dental Disease

Celebrating the Bond Between You and Your Pet

When you lean down to give your pet some love, does the foul odor coming from their mouth take your breath away? Dental disease not only effects your pet’s teeth, mouth and gums but it can also effect your pet’s heart, lungs and kidneys. Check out the Flip the Lip video to see our team and clients checking their pets for dental disease. Bad breath is something that may indicate that your pet has dental disease. The veterinarians at Gilbertsville Veterinary Hospital understand that oral health care is a very important part of maintaining your pet’s health. Some breeds are more prone to dental disease than others but all pets need proper dental care on a routine basis just like humans. The veterinarians at Gilbertsville Veterinary Hospital recommend regular brushing; dental chews and proper diets formulated to prevent tartar and plague build up on your pet’s teeth. (Dr. Hanlon demonstrates with his dog Grace how to properly brush your pet’s teeth). Dr. Helfer recommends the t/d diet for many of her patients. In this short blog, she talks about the benefits of t/d and how the diet is formulated to help prevent tartar build up. Now that we know some of the basics of prevention let’s learn more about dental disease. How does dental disease start?


  • Dental disease starts out as a bacterial film called plaque.
  • The bacteria sticks to the teeth and then dies.
  • As the bacteria dies it mixes with the calcium in your pet’s saliva and hardens like cement.
  • The hardened cement like substance is called tartar or calculus.
  • This process continues over time.

It is like a layer of hardened cement, then a slab of mortar, topped with more cement and so on.  When the initial bacteria or plaque forms on the teeth, regular brushing, dental chews or dental dog food will brush off the plaque before it hardens to the cement like substance known as tartar. Learn how to brush your pet’s teeth by watching Dr. Hanlon and Mary Grace.    What happens without brushing?

  • The hardened cement (known as tartar) builds up and irritates the gums causing gingivitis.
  • Gingivitis causes your pet’s gums to become red and swollen.
  • Red and swollen gums make it more difficult for your pet to eat properly.
  • Severe gingivitis can cause your pet’s gums to bleed.
  • Bacteria can enter the bloodstream through the gums and tissue and travel to your pets heart, lungs and liver.
  • The tissue around your pet’s tooth will eventually die.
  • The socket that holds your pet’s tooth will erode.
  • The tooth will become loose or fall out completely.
  • Below are some of the unexpected things that your veterinarian may find in severe cases.  These can cause your pet to need additional dental work performed.


Flip the Lip

Flip the Lip of your pet to determine if they have dental disease.

Dental Levels

Dental Levels

Your veterinarian and the GVH team will work hard to provide you with the best treatment plan for you and your pet! Dental Treatment Plans: Level 1 Dental Clean and Polish indicates that your pet's mouth has been examined and found to only have minimal calculus...

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Stages of Dental Disease

Stages of Dental Disease

Did you know that there are different stages of dental disease? Stage 1  Inflammation at the gum line Redness Plaque Accumulation Stage 2 All symptoms in stage one plus ... The tartar that mineralization of plaque Bad breath Volatile Sulfur Compounds Stage 3 Early...

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