Your pets’ oral health is very important to their overall well-being. Over 50% of dogs and cats show signs of dental disease by age 3. Some signs of oral or dental disease in pets are:
- Bad breath (or halitosis)
- Discolored teeth
- Drooling or bleeding from the mouth
- Pain when touching the mouth
The most common oral disease is periodontal disease, or gum disease, and it is usually preventable. This disease starts when bacteria in the mouth form a plaque that sticks to the teeth, and eventually hardens into dental calculus (tartar). The plaque and bacteria spread under the gumline and damage the tooth and surrounding tissues, causing gingivitis (inflamed gums) and periodontitis (loss of bone and tissue).
Dogs and cats just won’t let us probe in their mouths! In veterinary medicine, general anesthesia is needed to determine the extent of disease in the teeth. We are looking for gum recession and loss, loose or damaged teeth, and evidence of infection. Several treatment options are often available, however tooth extraction is often performed on the damaged teeth due to the cost and necessary home hygiene involved with periodontal tooth-saving therapy.
Our dental care package
Dental cleanings require a dental screening prior to making a surgical appointment ($15.00 exam charge). We offer screenings for signs of periodontal disease, loose or damaged teeth, oral masses, and other oral and dental diseases. We will provide an estimate to you, and then you are able to schedule your pet’s surgical appointment with the front desk.
Our practice is not able to take dental xrays or perform major extractions, which is part of how we are able to keep our costs down. At your screening, we will discuss if we feel your pet needs more dental care than we are able to provide.
Pre-surgical bloodwork is required on all pets over the age of 5. Dental cleanings are performed under general anesthesia, with close monitoring by our veterinary technicians. The teeth are cleaned using ultrasound scaling, and then assessed for overall health. Minor tooth extractions may be performed if necessary. The teeth are then polished with fluoride.
Long-term oral hygiene
Following a dental cleaning, home care of teeth is recommended and can prevent or delay further dental cleanings. The number one thing you can do is brush your pets’ teeth daily with a pet-specific toothbrush and toothpaste. Please don’t hesitate to ask us the best ways to start your pet on a tooth-brushing regime.
Certain dog chews, rinses, and water additives have also been shown to help prevent periodontal disease. See veterinarian-approved products at the Veterinary Oral Health Council website.