Pet Dental Care – They Have Teeth, Too!
Did you know that periodontal disease is the most common disease in dogs and cats? Keeping your pets’ teeth clean is an important part of keeping them healthy, happy and pain-free. About 85% of dogs and cats have some form of periodontal disease, which not only looks unattractive but makes them vulnerable to pain, bad breath and tooth loss.
If periodontal disease is allowed to progress untreated, it can even cause damage to your pet’s kidneys, liver and heart, since bacteria spread throughout the body in the bloodstream.
Dr. Debbie offers regular dental exams and can provide regular progress reports on your pet’s dental health.
During a pet dental exam, our vets look for:
- Bad breath
- Red, swollen gums (Gingivitis)
- Bleeding gums
- Loose, broken or missing teeth
- Oral lesions or growths
Taking good care of your pet’s teeth at home can be as simple as following three steps:
- Start with dental chews
Dogs and cats love dental chews, which offer the mechanical action of rubbing with the application of chemicals such as chlorhexidine, which prevent plaque buildup.
- Fight plaque with drinking water rinse
Oral hygiene rinses and gels are a step-up in plaque prevention for your dog or cat’s teeth. Some brands are exceptionally easy to use; simply apply between your pet’s cheek and gum for plaque control without brushing.
- Make brushing a daily habit
The best way to maintain your pet’s dental health is daily brushing – not with toothpaste designed for humans, but special toothpastes that come in flavors pets like and that are okay to be swallowed.
We have several choices of dental chews, rinses, toothpastes, and toothbrushes available in-house, and we’ll be happy to recommend brands and work with you on how to use them correctly with your pet.
Sometimes, keeping your pet's chompers healthy can feel like a big job. Luckily, our practice provides advanced veterinary dentistry services in addition to basic dental care.
This includes routine care such as cleaning, along with treating more complicated conditions. Because our pets don’t brush their teeth every night before bed as we do, tartar can firmly adhere to their teeth.
In order to remove this tartar, we perform dental scaling, our most basic dental procedure. During the scaling process, our practice uses sonic and ultrasonic power scalers as well as handheld instruments to remove this tartar from the surface of the teeth both above and below the gum line.
Tooth extraction is another very common procedure. Our goal is for your pet to retain as many teeth as possible. However, sometimes an extraction is the only option to relieve pain or ensure that periodontal disease does not advance. If not extracted, a diseased tooth can compromise the surrounding tissue and neighboring teeth. If caught early, there are more treatment options available for periodontal disease.
Our practice requires anesthesia for dental procedures. Because of this, we first perform a full physical exam and sometimes run blood tests. We closely monitor your pet the entire time they receive anesthesia.
We keep an eye on oxygen saturation and carbon dioxide levels in their blood along with their blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature. In order to help maintain the health of your pet’s mouth and teeth, you should bring your pet in for a dental check-up once a year. During these routine exams, our practice includes a general dental exam as well as teeth and gum cleaning if needed.
Catching dental problems in the early stages can greatly help your pet in the long run. Contact us right away if your pet experiences any of the following:
- Chronic bad breath
- Your pet shies away when you try to touch their mouth area
- Excessive drooling
- Dropping food when eating
- Bleeding in your pet’s mouth
- Loss of appetite or weight loss
- Yellowish-brown crust of tartar around the gum line
- Missing, loose or broken teeth