Oral Exam & Periodontal Health Assessment

A Complete Oral Exam for a dog or cat involves the assessment of the health of the other structures in the mouth besides the pet’s teeth. At Animal Dentistry & Oral Surgery, a comprehensive pet oral health exam involves:

  • Exam of the lining of the pet’s mouth. This lining called the mucosa can often be inflamed or is the source of some oral discomfort for some dogs and cats.
  • Exam of the pet’s tongue. The tongue is one of the most important structures in the mouth. It is what essentially allows our pets to drink water and swallow food. It can be a location where foreign bodies can become trapped (string under the tongue) or another location for other inflammatory processes that could make it difficult or painful for a dog or cat to eat.
  • Evaluation of structures in the pet’s head and neck. The lymph-nodes are palpated to check for signs of enlargement. This could be a sign of the dog or cat’s body’s response to a process going on in the mouth.
  • Comprehensive exam under anesthesia. An oral exam under anesthesia may indicate other processes that are going on that were not evident during the awake portion of the exam.
  • Periodontal Assessment. A Periodontal Assessment on a dog or cat involves checking the periodontal pocket depth around the tooth. In healthy animals there is a small pocket present called the sulcus. It also includes an assessment of gum (gingival) recession, bone loss, mobility of the teeth and degree of gingivitis.
  • If the periodontal pocket depth is normal, there is no significant inflammation (gingivitis), minimal or no mobility of the tooth and no gingival recession or bone loss, then the pet’s tooth is deemed healthy and typically then only an ultrasonic scaling and polishing is recommended.
  • If any of the parameters are abnormal then further periodontal procedures or other surgery may be recommended.