Little boy and his dog on bed, it is sunday morning and they just wake up.

Understanding Dental Disease

Dental health for your pet.

Dental health for your pet focuses on the same things as our own dental health. And when we don’t take care of their teeth, this allows bacteria to build up—which results in dental disease.

80% of Dogs and Cats over the age of three will have dental disease.

Dental Grading 0-4


Perfect, healthy teeth. While it’s always sensible to bring them in for a check-up and a clean, they don’t need any extra attention at this time.


Grade 1 dental disease is reversible with an ultrasonic scale and polish performed under general anaesthetic. Pets with Grade 1 dental disease may have mild gingivitis, and plaque or calculus build-up on their teeth. Immediate treatment to prevent disease progression is recommended. 

  • No attachment loss
  • Mild gingivitis
  • Mild plaque and calculus
  • Reversible with scale and polish under general anaesthetic

Dental disease is reversible if treated early.

Once dental disease progresses beyond grade 1, it is irreversible.


Their entire gum is inflamed, with tartar covering most of their teeth, and they may show signs of visible pain. At this point, some underlying bone decay may have started, and there might be an unpleasant odour in their mouth. Immediate treatment can prevent this from progressing to Grade 3. 

  • Up to 25% attachment loss
  • Early periodontitis
  • Irreversible. Scale and polish under general anaesthetic to prevent disease progression.


At this point you’ll probably have noticed visible pain and changes in their eating behaviour. Their gums are bright red, inflamed, and may be bleeding. Tartar has begun to extend into the gum line, and has started to eat away at it. They’ve got persistent bad breath. This level will likely require extraction of one or more teeth.

  • 25%-50% attachment loss
  • Moderate periodontitis
  • Irreversible. Scale and polish. Teeth extractions are indicated if unable to commit to daily oral hygiene.


Your pet may be in chronic pain, and bacterial infection is now noticeably destroying their gums. Their teeth are severely off-colour, and there’s regular bleeding and pus around the gums. At this point, most teeth will need to be extracted, and the disease has started to destroy the bone in their jaw. It may have spread to other parts of the body, too

  • Greater than 50% attachment loss, often with tooth mobility.
  • Advanced periodontitis
  • Irreversible. Full mouth teeth extractions are likely due to poor prognosis. 

Choose the right dental diet.

Speak with one of our team about the right foods for your pet, such as Hills T/D or Hills Vet Essentials.

Bring them in for regular assessments.

Much like us, bringing your pet in for a regular dental assessment will ensure their teeth and gums remain clean and healthy. We recommend scheduling a regular  dental check-up every 6 months with Sage Vets free dental checks. 

With thorough care, and a regular dental hygiene program, you can ensure a happy, healthy pet—with much less chance of bad breath.

Want their next scale and polish for 45% off?

Get their next scale and polish for just $250, down from $450. All you need to do is book in their next scale and polish, then book your subsequent dental assessment within the following 12 months. It’s all about ensuring the best dental hygiene and care for your furry family member.

The basics of pet dental care

Common bacteria that builds up as a film over the teeth and gums.

Inflammation of the gums, where they become red, swollen, and sore.

Tartar, or calculus
When plaque remains on their teeth and gums for too long, it hardens. This build-up is known as tartar, or calculus. You can see it, it’s a yellow or brown-looking coating on their teeth, that’s made up of bacteria and other nasties. As well as dental disease, plaque build-up can lead to chronic bad breath.

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Together we do more.

Open 7 days a week

© 2019 Sage Vets – All Rights Reserved

Use of this site is subject to our Website Terms of Use which are available here: Website terms of use | Privacy Policy