Dental Care & Dentistry
Does your pet have bad breath? While you shouldn’t expect your furry friend to have minty fresh breath 24/7, we definitely don’t want to be on the verge of tears whenever our pet comes up to say hello.
Dental health is an important factor in maintaining your pet’s health overall. Dental health issues can both cause additional health problems or result from underlying issues in the body. Dental care should go right along with the routine checkups, healthy eating, and exercise you already make sure your pet gets.
Cleaning, filling, repairing, and extracting. These are all the basic components of veterinary dentistry. These dental procedures are performed by a veterinarian or board-certified veterinary dentist, though some states allow vet technicians to perform certain procedures.
First up is an oral exam of your pet’s mouth. Initial exams are important so that your veterinarian can get a big picture of the health of your pet’s teeth and gums. X-rays may also be used to properly assess jaw health and tooth roots below the gum line. Dental diseases typically manifest below the gum line, where it cannot be so easily seen. This is why a thorough dental cleaning will be done under anesthesia. Routine cleanings simply include scaling, in which dental plaque and tartar is removed, and polishing, similar to the process done to human teeth during dental cleanings.
Oral Health for Your Cats and Dogs
Yearly dental exams and cleanings are recommended for your pet, but you may get your pet’s teeth checked out sooner if you notice:
- Bad breath
- Refusal to eat
- Missing or broken teeth
- Extra teeth or baby teeth in adult pets
- Abnormal chewing or constantly dropping food from the mouth
- Pain, bleeding, or swelling in or around the mouth
Take care when examining your pet’s mouth, it may be very painful for him and he may bite.
What Causes Dental Health Issues?
Cavities are less common in animal than humans, but your pet can still develop them, along with other dental health issues humans also face, including:
- Abscesses or infected teeth
- Broken teeth and roots
- Periodontal disease
- Broken or fractured jaw
- Malocclusion or misalignment of bite
The most common dental health issue that can develop in both cats and dogs is periodontal disease. Your pet will likely show early evidence of this by age 3. It’s crucial that you be proactive in preventative measures so that conditions do not worsen for your pet as he ages. Periodontal disease can spread to affect the kidneys, liver, and heart.
What You Can Do at Home
Since frequently removing dental plaque and tartar is essential in preventing most common oral diseases, we recommend that you regularly brush your pet’s teeth in between their scheduled cleanings with us. Daily brushing is preferred but we understand that everyone has busy schedules, so brushing several times a week is also acceptable.
Generally, dogs are more agreeable than cats to having their teeth brushed, so exercise caution and patience with your kitty. Train your pets to tolerate brushing while they are young so that it doesn’t have to be a fight every time it’s time for dental care. Try alternatives to brushing, if your pet will not tolerate it, such as water additives and dental treats.
We can also recommend the most effective dental products, diets, and treats appropriate for your pet to ensure optimal dental health.