Nonsurgical periodontal therapy.

  • W P Cleland
  • Published 2000 in Clinical techniques in small animal practice


The primary etiology of periodontal disease is bacterial infection. Bacteria exist as a biofilm (plaque) on the tooth and soft-tissue surfaces of the mouth. Biofilm is extremely resistant to antimicrobial activity. To effectively treat periodontal disease, the bacterial load must be reduced to allow healing of the inflamed tissues. Reduction of the bacterial load can be accomplished by surgical methods, nonsurgical methods, or a combination of the two. This article focuses on the nonsurgical treatment of periodontal disease. A thorough oral examination, which includes visual inspection and the use of a periodontal probe, is needed to determine the best therapy. Supragingival cleaning with power and hand scalers is the first step in the therapy process. The next step, subgingival scaling, is necessary to remove bacteria that are in direct contact with the periodontium. Effective subgingival plaque removal is time intensive and requires motivation, manual dexterity, and meticulous technique. Most veterinarians and veterinary technicians lack the training, instruments, and time to remove subgingival plaque effectively. To improve therapeutic results, adjunctive therapy in the form of oral systemic antibiotics or a locally applied doxycycline-containing polymer may be used. The success of periodontal therapy also is dependent on dental home care that takes place after professional treatment. The veterinarian and staff must be willing to educate and reinforce the dental home care efforts of the pet owner.

Cite this paper

@article{Cleland2000NonsurgicalPT, title={Nonsurgical periodontal therapy.}, author={W P Cleland}, journal={Clinical techniques in small animal practice}, year={2000}, volume={15 4}, pages={221-5} }