Dental health is a very important part of your pet’s overall health. Your pet’s teeth should be checked at least once a year by a veterinarian for early signs of a problem and to keep your pet’s mouth healthy. Have your pet’s teeth checked sooner if you observe any of the following problems:
- Bad breath
- Teeth that are discolored and covered in tartar
- Broken or loose teeth
- Pain in or around the mouth
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
- Reduced appetite or refusal to eat
Although cavities are less common in pets than people, they can still have many of the same dental problems and may develop:
- Periodontal disease
- Abscesses or infected teeth
- Broken teeth and roots
- Tumors or cysts in the mouth
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is the most prevalent disease of all diseases in cats and dogs. It is an infection caused by bacteria. The bacteria are located on the teeth and the tissues surrounding the teeth (periodontium). By the time your pet is 3 years old, he or she will very likely have some early evidence of periodontal disease, which will worsen as your pet grows older if effective preventive measures aren’t taken. Periodontal disease doesn’t just affect your pet’s mouth. Other health problems found in association with periodontal disease include kidney, liver, and heart muscle changes.
How Does a Dental Work?
During a dental cleaning, plaque and tartar are removed from a pet’s teeth, and the health of the entire mouth (tongue, gums, lips, and teeth) is assessed. Dog and cat dental cleanings are very similar to human dental cleanings, except that we are required to use anesthesia to properly and safely examine and clean the teeth. Your pet does not understand the benefit of dental procedures, and he or she reacts by moving, trying to escape, or even biting. Anesthesia also allows for a better cleaning because your pet is not moving around and risking injury from the dental equipment.
We do our best to save every tooth that we feel have a chance to be successfully treated. We only extract teeth that in the doctor's opinion are beyond saving. Pet tooth extractions are often necessary for removing damaged or diseased teeth, advanced periodontal disease, maloccluded teeth, fractured teeth, impacted teeth and deformed teeth.
What can I do at home for my pet's oral health?
Regularly brushing your pet’s teeth is the single most effective thing you can do to keep their teeth healthy between dental cleanings. Do not use human toothpaste! Human teeth cleaning detergents contain ingredients that are not intended to be swallowed and can cause internal problems if they are swallowed. Pet toothpastes are non-foaming, safe to be swallowed, and are available in flavors that are appealing to dogs including poultry, beef, malt and mint. We also offer Oravets here in our clinic. Oravet Chews form a barrier to help protect against the bacteria that leads to plaque and calculus buildup for a cleaner mouth and fresher breath. If you have questions about safe products to use please ask and we will gladly point you in the right direction.