Veterinary medicine has come a long way from the days when "dental care" meant a veterinarian using a hand scaler to remove visible tartar from teeth. Now, thanks to more modern procedures and better education, your pet can receive progressive high quality dental care as you would expect for yourself.
Also, improvements in the safety and administration of anesthesia allow us to perform dental procedures on some of the oldest and most needy of pets. See Anesthesia and your pet.
Benefits of regular (yearly) dental cleaning
- Prevent Pain
- Reduce Mouth Odor
- Prevent Tooth Loss
- Reduce Chance of Early Organ Failure
- Extend and promote long, healthy life
Providing your pet with regular dental care is one of the greatest gifts you can give your beloved companion. Dental disease begins with plaque, progresses to gingivitis and then periodontitis. Once periodontitis sets in, the teeth become infected and begin to loosen. This is an extremely painful condition. Yet, most of our pets do not complain outwardly. Many pets suffer in silence continuing to wag their tails and eat their meals leaving their human caretakers none the wiser. As periodontitis progresses, the gums recede, allowing bacteria to travel through the bloodstream to other parts of the body. These bacteria can cause disease in the heart, liver, and kidneys.
PLAQUE: A mass adhering to the enamel surface of a tooth composed of bacteria, inflammatory cells, and saliva polymers.
GINGIVITIS: Gingivitis is inflammation of the gingiva (tissue surrounding the teeth) caused by accumulation of plaque. It is characterized by redness and swelling to the gums.
PERIODONTITIS: Periodontitis is inflammation of the tissues surrounding the tooth roots resulting in recession of the gingavia and loss of attachment of teeth to the bones. Periodontitis follows untreated gingivitis. Untreated periodontitis leads to tooth loss.
Question: How can I tell if my pet has dental disease?
Any many cases identifying dental problems in your pet is as easy as lifting up the upper lip and checking for tartar and mouth odor. However, some pets are so painful in the mouth that they will not allow an oral exam. Still other pets show no outward sign of dental problems and suffer silently.
We recommend you familiarize yourself with and watch for these common indications of dental disease in your pet.
- red, swollen, or bleeding gums
- Loose, broken, or abscessed teeth
- Foul odor from the mouth
- Swelling of the muzzle especially under the eye
Clinical signs that may be noted:
- loss of appetite
- Pawing at mouth
- Excessive drooling
- Sensitivity around mouth (pets that don’t want their mouth handled)
Gingivitis invariably progresses to periodontitis if not treated.
Gingivitis is reversible! If treated before periodontal disease occurs, gingivitis can be completely reversed
Periodontitis is not reversible. However, treatment can slow or halt the progression of disease.