You know you need to see your dentist twice per year for dental cleanings and check-ups to maintain good oral health. But, do you know that your pet requires the same dental care? Many pet owners are unaware of the importance of dental care for a pet’s overall health and well-being, so many pets suffer needlessly. By the age of 3, up to 80% of cats and dogs have some form of dental disease, which leads to more than bad breath.
How does dental disease affect my pet’s health?
Dental disease affects more than your pet’s mouth. Oral bacteria slip into the bloodstream, travel to different body organ systems, and cause disease. Heart valves are most commonly loaded with oral bacteria, leading to leaky valves and heart disease, but the kidneys and liver are also susceptible to infection. Dental disease interferes with every aspect of your pet’s life.
- Grooming — A pet with a sore mouth is unlikely to maintain good grooming habits. Cats, in particular, will appear matted and unkempt when suffering from oral pain caused by severe dental disease.
- Nutrition — Swollen, inflamed gums or abscessed teeth create severe pain. If you’ve ever experienced a toothache, you’ll understand how difficult it is to eat, especially if you have multiple diseased teeth. Many pets lose weight and lack proper nutrition when afflicted with dental disease.
- Interaction — Pain can make the most well-mannered pet grumpy and prone to lashing out. A constant toothache that goes unresolved can cause a pet to shun human interaction, act aggressively when handled, or simply hide.
Without routine dental care or prompt treatment, your pet may suffer quietly in pain for years before she shows a problem, so stay on top of your furry friend’s wellness exams and watch for signs of dental disease.
How do I know if my pet has dental disease?
Many people believe that malodorous doggy breath wafting in their face is normal, but it can be a sign of a pet’s serious health issues. Besides halitosis, the hallmark signs of dental disease in pets include:
- Excessive drooling
- Blood-tinged saliva
- Difficulty chewing
- Dropping food from one side of the mouth
- Reduced appetite
- Pawing at the mouth
- Red, inflamed gums
- Tartar accumulation on teeth
The best way to determine if your pet has dental disease is to schedule a veterinary exam with our team. We see periodontal problems frequently, and have the skills and expertise to quickly evaluate your pet’s mouth while she is awake. Depending on your pet’s comfort level, we may not be able to determine much about the disease severity, but the quick peek will guide us on our treatment path.
How can I provide proper dental care for my pet?
The first step toward your pet’s proper dental care is to establish a clean, healthy mouth, which requires a dental cleaning visit to our clinic. We will take the following steps to ensure a comprehensive dental cleaning and the best care for your pet:
- Perform a thorough assessment — Before we begin cleaning your pet’s teeth, we will create a treatment plan based on our quick evaluation. We will ask for a history of your pet’s behavior at home, perform a physical exam, and run pre-anesthetic bloodwork to check your pet’s health status. Once we complete our pre-anesthetic assessment, we will put your pet under general anesthesia.
- Chart problem areas — After your pet is fully sedated, we can examine her oral cavity more thoroughly without causing discomfort. We will check for any signs of disease or decay, bone loss, broken or chipped teeth, pulp exposure, recessed gums, abscessed teeth, or root exposure.
- Treat diseased teeth — Once we’ve categorized her teeth as healthy or diseased, we will treat the problem teeth, either by extraction or another method.
- Remove tartar — Tartar can accumulate to an impressive layer on your pet’s teeth, and a thorough scaling is required to remove this cemented-on bacteria. We will first remove any large chunks of tartar, followed by more precise scaling to avoid damaging the teeth.
- Polish out imperfections — Despite our careful scaling techniques, minor abrasions will be present on the enamel. After scaling off tartar, we will polish your pet’s teeth to an even smoothness to prevent plaque from sticking in the future.
- Apply a fluoride treatment — As with your dental treatment, we will top off your pet’s cleaning with a fluoride treatment to help strengthen the enamel.
After professional scaling and polishing, your pet’s mouth will be a clean slate, and your challenge will be keeping her mouth clean and fresh until her next annual cleaning. Regular at-home dental care helps reduce tartar buildup, making each dental cleaning easier on your pet.
Our nurses offer FREE dental checks via appointment, so give us a call on 99643671 or click here.