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Dental Care for your Pet

Prevent Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease, which is disease affecting the teeth and gums is very common in dogs and cats. It can affect animals both young and old. Dental care for your pet can prevent the development of periodontal disease. Dental care can prevent tooth loss, sore gums, decrease bad breath, reduce bacterial growth in the mouth, and prevent the migration of the bacteria in the mouth to organs such as the heart, liver and kidneys.

How do I know if my pet has dental problems?

You may notice bad breath, discoloration of the teeth, loss of teeth, or reddened gums (gingivitis). Often, there are no obvious signs to the pet owner. The best way to identify dental disease is a thorough examination by your veterinarian. Your veterinarian may recommend that you initiate some care for your pet at home, or he or she may recommend a dental cleaning be performed. Complete evaluation of the extent of the dental disease often requires anesthesia or sedation.

What can I do for my pet at home?

There are several options available, some of which include brushing the teeth, special diets, oral (mouth) rinses, and chewable treats. Please discuss with your veterinarian or animal health technologist what homecare program would be suitable for you and your pet.

What is involved with a dental cleaning?

This is a procedure that is done under general anesthetic at the veterinary clinic. Your pet’s health will need to be evaluated prior to the general anesthetic. This initially involves a thorough physical examination. Often the veterinarian will also recommend preanesthetic blood testing and intravenous fluids. With modern anesthetic agents and monitoring equipment, anesthesia in veterinary medicine is now considered very safe. Blood testing and intravenous fluids can help minimize any risk or complications associated with the anesthetic.

The procedure itself involves a thorough examination of the mouth by an animal health technologist and a veterinarian working as a team. This may include some dental xrays. The animal technologist is responsible for the cleaning. The cleaning of the teeth involves scaling (removing plaque and tartar from the teeth, both above and below the gum line), polishing, and antibacterial rinses and/or fluoride treatments. Sometimes a tooth can’t be saved and it needs to be extracted (removed) by the veterinarian. Some veterinarians are trained to do more advanced procedures such as root canals.

After the dental cleaning, your pet may require antibiotics if there was evidence of infection in the mouth. Your pet may also need some analgesics (painkillers).

Together we can help your pet enjoy improved dental health.