Dental care is crucial to the overall health of dogs and cats. Did you know that 80% of pets experience some form of dental disease before the age of three? It is the most common disease in cats and dogs.
When your dog or cat has bad breath, it is not only annoying—it is the first symptom of this serious issue. The same oral bacteria responsible for the unwanted aroma can potentially travel to your pet’s other vital bodily systems, including the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys, where it can cause pain and discomfort. Dental disease can also make getting adequate nutrition difficult for your pet, and affect their quality of life.
Here are some other telling symptoms that your pet may have some form of dental disease:
- Loose teeth
- Discolored teeth
- Bad breath
- Discomfort or avoidance when you try to touch their mouth area
- Excessive drooling or inability to hold food in the mouth
- Oral bleeding
- Weight loss or appetite loss
The first step to preventing dental disease in your pet is a dental assessment. During a wellness visit, we will perform the dental assessment by taking a look at the teeth and gums of your pet. This will help us determine if they have dental disease, and what the extent may be. In turn, we can formulate a treatment plan. We recommend an annual schedule for dental assessments and dental cleanings.
We will use digital radiographs as a tool, in addition to a full mouth exam, to see the underlying formation of your pet’s teeth and gums. It is not unusual for the teeth or gums to be found severely diseased, and extractions may be needed. In this instance, we will help you to plan the appropriate procedure and make sure that proper pain control is used.
During a dental cleaning, we will use an ultrasonic scaler and full mouth X-rays in tandem for the best results. This procedure will remove the plaque and tartar that could potentially lead to periodontal disease. Ultrasonic and hand dental scalers help us to remove the dental deposits which are dangerous to your pet. Next, the teeth are polished to remove residual plaque and smooth the surface of the tooth. Then the pet’s mouth is rinsed to remove any residual debris. Sometimes a plaque-preventative material is added as a final step.
In cases of advanced dental disease, oral surgery may be required to alleviate pain and prevent further infection. Our team is equipped to perform a variety of both advanced and routine oral surgical procedures.
After a veterinarian conducts a dental assessment and treats your pet, they will advise on how you can continue to care for your pet’s dental health at home. Brushing the teeth is recommended, but many cats and dogs refuse to cooperate enough to facilitate this healthy habit. Luckily, there are a variety of chews, rinses, and toys that can also help to partially clean the teeth. In addition to advising on at-home care, we will also help to schedule your pet’s next follow-up dental assessment.