When was the last time you had your pet’s teeth cleaned? According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), pets who have never had a teeth cleaning often have signs of dental disease by the time they are three years old. For that reason, we perform an oral examination as part of your pet's annual exam.
Gum Disease in Dogs and Cats
Dogs and cats are prone to developing the same types of dental diseases and problems as humans, including gingivitis, periodontal disease, tooth decay, staining and cavities. The process of dental decay and disease starts every time your pet eats. Bacteria in your pet's mouth create a sticky, clear substance called plaque. If the plaque is left on teeth, it hardens into tartar. When plaque and tartar are left on your pet’s teeth for an extended period of time, it can lead to gingivitis, periodontal disease, oral infections, and bone loss.
Signs of Dental Disease in Pets
When it comes to detecting potential oral health problems in pets, owners must be vigilant in noticing changes in behavior. This is because pets often do not act like they are in pain until the pain is severe. If you notice any of the signs below, it is important that you contact us to schedule a dental checkup.
- Broken or loose teeth
- Discomfort while eating
- Extremely bad breath
- Difficulty eating or chewing
- Red gums
- Swollen areas on the face
- Staining on the teeth
- Swollen or inflamed gums
- Weight loss or loss of appetite
- Blood in the saliva
The Hazards of Untreated Periodontal Disease in Pets
Untreated periodontal disease in dogs and cats can lead to dangerous infections, like abscesses and blood infections. Advanced dental disease may also affect your pet’s heart, liver and kidneys. In order to avoid these potentially life-threatening conditions, it is important to keep your pet’s teeth clean with a combination of at-home care and regular veterinary teeth cleanings.
Pet Dental Cleanings
Dogs and cats will not hold their mouths open like humans at the dentist, so to preform a thorough dental cleaning, your pet must be under general anesthesia. During the cleaning, and ultrasonic scaler is used to clean all the plaque and tartar from the outer and inner surfaces of the teeth, as well as under the gum line. Dental radiographs are taken and will show the health of the tooth root and surrounding bone. If teeth need to be extracted, a drill is used to help remove the entire tooth including the root. Dissolvable sutures are placed to help the site heal quickly. A fluoride polish is applied to smooth out any microscopic ridges from the tartar removal process. Your pet may be sent home with antibiotics or pain medication depending on what was found during the procedure.
Dental procedures are out patient procedures and your pet will go home the same day.
To learn more about our veterinary dental services and how they can protect the health of your pet, call us at 813-671-3400.