Dentistry is a relatively new but very important field in animal health care. Dental disease is considered the number one disease entity in mature pets.
Potential issues for your pet may include:
◘ Periodontal disease
◘ Fractured teeth
◘ Oral tumors
However, dental disease is also linked to many other diseases your pet may be affected by, including but not limited to:
○ Chronic pain
○ Heart disease
○ Liver disease
As you continuing reading, you may see familiar terms that you have encountered in your own dental care experiences that may give you a better understanding of the
dental issues your pet can also experience.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO LOOK FOR
As a responsible pet owner you need to be aware of what to look for in your pet's mouth. Bad breath, red or bleeding gums, tartar build up or loose teeth may all indicate the need for evaluation by your veterinarian. Changes in eating habits (such as not eating or picking up food then dropping it), rubbing the face with their paws or on the carpet may all indicate dental issues for your pet. However, more common symptoms are subtle and can be easily missed. These common symptoms include, "slowing down", lethargy, reclusiveness, or vomiting.
Things To Know If your Pet Needs a Dental Cleaning!
- All dental procedures are completed under general anesthesia. Pets don't open wide for long.
- Once asleep, all patients will receive a complete oral health assessment.
- This assessment starts with a gross inspection of the oral cavity, including the tonsils, salivary glands and palates.
- Then each tooth is evaluated for stability, enamel damage or periodontal pockets (gum separation from the tooth)
- A full set of radiographs are obtained to evaluate the health of the teeth's roots and the underlying bone
- Fun Fact- 50% of a normal tooth is present underneath the gumline!
- Tartar is then scaled with high-speed ultrasonic scalers
- Finally the teeth are polished to help prevent new tartar accumulation
- Teeth are checked for looseness and cavities, and the gums are evaluated for infection and deep separations from tooth roots (periodontal pockets).
- Teeth that are loose, infected, painful or fractured are extracted.
- Gums with periodontal pockets are resected by electrocautery to make normal periodontal depth (gingivectomy).
- Antibiotic therapy and human aftercare with special toothpaste or washes may be recommended.
Due to advanced dental disease and tartar buildup, some procedures may require several hours of meticulous effort to achieve a comfortable and disease free mouth. We go to great lengths providing the care your pet requires and deserves to ensure their health and well-being is returned. During each procedure a dedicated Licensed Veterinary Technician is paired with one of our doctors to provide complete anesthetic monitoring.
Above is an example of a dental before and after. Besides the obvious tartar being removed, you can see
almost instantly the inflammation and health of the gums returning to normal
Why do our pets require professional Dental Care?
- Dogs and cats don't brush their own teeth.
- 70% of cats and 80% of dogs are showing signs of dental disease by age 3.
- Dental disease doesn't affect just the mouth; it also affects the heart, lungs, and kidneys.
- Plaque forms on the teeth within 24 hrs of dental cleaning.
- Tartar which forms on the teeth after plaque accumulates, starts to develop 24-72 hrs of plaque being removed.
- As plaque and tartar accumulate, gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) causes the gums to become red, swollen and bleed more easily
Dogs & Cats Require At Home Dental Care too!
There are many dental products out their for your pets. However, many have no scientific studies to demonstrate they are worthy of your time or money. We recommend only using products that have been certified by the Veterinary Oral Health Consul. Look for their stamp on products prior to purchasing them.
- Brushing with CET enzymatic toothpaste is recommended daily for best results but should be performed at least twice weekly
- (CET) Canine Enzymatic Tartar Control chews or Dental Sticks can be provided daily
- Breathalyser water additive- This product helps reduce tartar accumulation by killing bacteria in the mouth. It is easily added to the water daily
- Oravet chews- These are chews that apply a coating to the tooth, protecting it from tartar build up. Over time the film wears off and another chew is required to maintain the protection
- Only provide chews to your dog that are softer than the enamel of their teeth. Although chewing is a good mechanical function to break down tartar, bones such as elk antlers or cow femurs are more likely to break your dogs teeth if they are an active chewer.
Veterinary Care: An oral exam is provided during each physical exam with your veterinarian
During a Puppy or Kitten exam we may identify:
- retained deciduous teeth
- missing or extra teeth
- swellings or abnormal oral developments
During the annual physical exam we may identify:
- retained deciduous teeth
- missing or extra teeth
- developmental abnormalities
- accumulation of plaque and tartar
- periodontal disease
- Gingivitis or Stomatitis
- oral tumors
- Cervical line lesions- A painful cavity created in the side of a cat's tooth
- Heart murmurs secondary to infection
- Fractured teeth