Dental checkups and cleaning should be done on a regular basis. Your pet’s teeth and gums will be checked at each examination. Up to 80% of dogs and cats will develop dental disease by the age of three. Plaque, made up of bacteria, builds up on tooth surfaces and below the gumline, hardening into tartar over time. Signs of dental disease include bad breath, red/swollen/bleeding gums, discolored teeth, tooth loss, cracked or worn teeth, mouth sensitivity, and difficulty eating. If you notice any of these signs, schedule an exam to determine if a dental cleaning is recommended for your pet.
In severe cases, periodontitis can develop, which is inflammation and infection of the deeper tissues surrounding the teeth. This can be a source of infection that can spread to other parts of your pet’s body, such as the heart, liver, and kidneys.
DENTAL CLEANINGS UNDER GENERAL ANESTHESIA
Family Dog and Cat Hospital does not support or practice anesthesia-free dentals. Animals do not have the ability to understand why they need their teeth cleaned and require a considerable amount of restraint to keep still, which can be both stressful and painful for your pet. The safest and most effective dental care for your pet can only be provided through professional dental cleanings under general anesthesia and the supervision of a veterinarian. Dental cleanings under general anesthesia allows deep cleaning, probing the gum line, dental radiographs and extractions if necessary.
Two thirds of your pet’s teeth are under the gums (gingiva) and are therefore unable to be seen. After periodontal probing of your pet’s teeth, dental radiographs may be required. Dental radiographs allow the doctor to assess and make an accurate diagnosis of your pet’s teeth.
Dental extractions may be required after examining your pet’s dental radiographs. We will call you with the amount of teeth needing to be extracted and an estimated cost for those extractions.
HOME DENTAL CARE
“Good to Chew, Better to Spray, Best to Brush”
Home dental care is needed to maintain good dental health. Brushing your pet’s teeth at least three times per week can help prevent dental disease. While proper daily brushing is best for your pet, there are many other ways to take care of your pet’s teeth. Choosing a method that works best for you and your pet is the most effective way of assuring that your pet benefits from this oral care at home. A variety of teeth brushing products are available to help keep your pet’s teeth clean, such as enzyme treated rawhide chews, dental chews, special dental diets, sprays, gels, toothbrushes, and toothpaste.
BRUSHING TEETH: THE GOLD STANDARD
The best way to prevent accumulation of tartar on your pet’s teeth is to brush them daily. While brushing is not practical in all situations, pets can become acclimated to routine teeth brushing, especially if a reward is offered afterwards.
If a dental cleaning is needed, your pet will be anesthetized and an in depth dental examination will be performed checking for broken or missing teeth, oral masses, or periodontal disease. Sometimes tooth extraction is necessary. Finally, the teeth will be cleaned and polished
SPRAYS AND GELS
These products are meant to be applied to the teeth and gums of your pet in order to remove bacteria and prevent plaque and tartar formation. The application takes less time and effort than brushing, but will require some practice and patience. Ask us about our spray and gel options.
DENTAL CHEWS AND DIETS
These products allow dogs and cats to remove the plaque from their teeth themselves. When the teeth sink into the chew, the surfaces of the teeth are scraped, and plaque is removed. Ask us about the dental chews and diets we have available and we can help you chose which is best for you and your pet’s needs.