Dental disease is one of the most common conditions affecting pets over the age of three, but when it starts there are usually no obvious signs and symptoms. Once it advances, it can devastate your pet’s mouth, causing chronic pain, infected gums, tooth and bone loss – hardly the state we want for our best fur friends!
Fortunately, dental disease is preventable. Fairview Veterinary Hospital is here to warn you about the dangers of dental disease in pets, and how to take care of your dog or cat’s oral health.
It Starts With A Pet Dental Exam
One of the reasons we advocate for annual wellness exams is that they allow us to see what’s going on inside your pet’s mouth. Although we won’t be able to see everything (many problems occur below the gumline), we can give you some pointers for brushing at home and various helpful products like dental diets, chews, and rinses.
Does your pet have a great smile? Most of us think so! Even with that wonderful smile, our pets can have dental problems that we can’t see, but sometimes we can smell them. Bad breath is a common sign that there is a problem brewing in your pet’s mouth.
Pet dental wellness is an important component of your pet’s overall preventive care program. Working together, Fairview Veterinary Hospital can tailor an at-home dental care program, coupled with annual professional cleanings, that will keep your pet healthy and feeling their best.
Periodontal Disease Basics
What’s all the fuss about? Well, simply put, it has been reported that 85% of all pets have some form of dental disease by the time they are 4 years old. Periodontal disease can cause bad breath, bleeding and infected gums, and tooth loss. It can even increase the likelihood of diseases of the heart, kidneys, and liver. Luckily, dental disease, although common, is preventable.
Periodontal disease begins when plaque forms on the teeth and causes inflammation of the gums, both above and below the gum line. Eventually, plaque hardens into tartar and bacteria can cause infection and affect the tooth structures, such as the root and the bone beneath.
Pet Dental Wellness
Pet dental wellness begins with a dental exam at your pet’s wellness visit. We’ll look into your pet’s mouth and grade their teeth, which gives a measurable score to the level of dental disease, if seen. We’ll show you what your pet’s teeth and gums look like and what concerns us.
Next, a professional dental cleaning may be recommended. Using the safest anesthesia possible, we will evaluate the entire mouth and all the structures, including teeth and gums. Each tooth will be examined and x-rays will be taken of any problem areas. You’ll be contacted with any significant findings that require treatment, such as tooth extraction, which is normally reserved for very diseased or broken teeth that are beyond repair.
Next, your pet’s teeth will be cleaned, both above and below the gum line. It’s crucial to clean below the gum line, since much of the plaque and bacteria collect there. Your pet’s teeth will then be polished to help prevent further plaque from collecting.
Your Part in Pet Dental Wellness
After your pet’s dental cleaning, it’s your turn at home! We can help you implement a tooth brushing routine that works to prevent dental problems in the future. It’s really not as hard to do as it sounds!
We may also recommend a dental diet, dental chews, or a water additive to further enhance your pet’s dental wellness plan at home. Each pet is an individual, so these recommendations will depend largely on your pet’s dental health, as well as their overall health, and what can be most beneficial to them.
Have more questions about pet dental wellness, at-home care, or a professional cleaning? Call us to schedule an appointment. We’re looking forward to helping you enjoy your pet’s great smile and to also ensure true dental wellness for a lifetime!