Healthy Teeth Make Healthy Pets – The importance of Pet Dental Services and Your Pet
Just like human teeth, your pets’ teeth need to be cleaned. An astounding 80% of dogs and 70% of cats over the age of three have some degree of dental disease, making it the most common disease in small animals. Signs of dental disease are often not recognized and some pets suffer until all of their teeth have become infected. Infected teeth can result in mouth pain, general malaise, inappetence, and infection of other organs such as the kidneys or heart via the bloodstream.
Preventive dental care is one of the most neglected pet health needs; yet, it’s just as important for pets as it is for people. Below are some answers to commonly asked questions about dental care for pets and information about the dental care services we provide.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is the most common dental disease seen. Its progression in animals is the same as it is in humans; however, pets tend to accumulate calculus 4-5% faster than people. When food remains on the teeth it forms plaque, which continuously builds on the tooth. If not removed, this plaque hardens and becomes what we call calculus. Continued accumulation causes gingivitis (infection of the gums) and leads to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection of the structures that cradle the teeth in their normal positions and is caused by a buildup of plaque and calculus below the gum line. This painful and progressive gum disease causes inflammation and, finally, tooth loss. In addition to its effects on your pets’ teeth, the bacteria accumulates in the mouth and can cause serious infections of internal organs such as the heart, kidneys, and liver.
|Progression of Periodontal Disease|
Warning signs include
- Bad breath
- Plaque and tartar build-up
- Loose teeth
- Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums)
- Lack of appetite
- Bleeding gums
What happens during a Dentistry?
A dental exam and cleaning, called dental prophylaxis or dentistry, is the standard treatment for periodontal disease. This includes manual and/or ultrasonic removal of plaque above and below the gum line. Depending on the dental rating your pet has been given, a dentistry or home dental care will be recommended. Dental ratings are based on a scale of 0-4. We recommend anesthetic dentistry’s for all ratings greater than 1. Please have your pets’ teeth rated by our veterinarians.
Dentistry requires the pet to be fully anesthetized. Prior to any anesthetic procedure, we require your pet to have a general blood panel to screen for any previously undetected abnormalities that would put your pet at risk. We closely monitor the patient throughout the procedure and provide IV fluids to support internal organs. Dental x-rays are performed to evaluate the tooth structure and identify diseased tooth roots. Polishing treatments follow all dental prophylaxis. Polishing smooths the surface of the tooth, allowing it to become more resistant to plaque build-up.
When you pick up your pet, our staff will provide you with instructions for at-home dental care and review the findings of the dental exam.