Dental health is as important for pets as it is for humans.
Signs of dental disease
- Bad breath
- Red inflamed gums
- Discolored teeth
- Difficulty chewing food/toys
- Loose or missing teeth
- Food, hair, grass or other material at the gum line or between teeth
- Facial swelling below the eye
If you have noticed any of these signs, then it may be time for your pet to have a dental cleaning. Although bad breath (halitosis) may be the most easily recognized symptoms of dental disease, it is not the most threatening to your pet’s health. Dental plaque quickly builds up on the exterior surface of the tooth. Plaque is a composite of epithelial cells from the mouth and bacteria. If the plaque is not removed, a hard dental calculus begins to form. This calculus adheres tightly to the tooth and can be difficult to remove. The calculus is irritating to the gums and even alters the pH in the mouth enabling bacteria to survive under the gum line. In addition to damaging the supporting structures of the tooth, the bacteria is responsible for bad breath and can also cause kidney and heart valve disorders.
The good news is that dental disease can be corrected with regular veterinary dental cleanings and at home care. Dental cleanings for pets are very similar to the procedure your dentist may use to clean your teeth. An ultrasonic scaler is used to remove the plaque and calculus from the teeth without damaging the vital tooth enamel. The teeth are then polished with a flavored fluoride paste. Sound familiar? The most notable difference in veterinary dentals is that our canine and feline patients require anesthesia for his procedure. Pets are typically discharged in the afternoon on the same day as scheduled dental cleanings. For more information on anesthesia, please visit our Surgery page.
After your pet has a dental cleaning, it is important to begin a dental maintenance plan. Dental plaque can begin to build up within 12 hours after being removed. A diet comprised of dry food ( or at least mostly dry) helps to minimize dental plaque accumulation. Brushing your pet’s teeth can also be helpful. We offer flavored enzymatic tooth pastes that can be applied to the teeth by hand which eliminates the need to use a toothbrush that some pets dislike. In addition, we carry Oravet chews to aid with preventing plaque and calculus. These products can be purchased over the counter, just ask one of our veterinary staff to assist you.
Excellent dental health leads to better overall health for your pet. Give our office a call to schedule an oral exam today!